I hope you’ve enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine we had this weekend because things are about to change fast. A broad area of low pressure is expected to park itself over the intermountain west this week and it will bring some of the coldest air of the season and several days of snow.
This storm will bring two main impacts. Cold and snow. That seems obvious as with any cold front in the wintertime but instead of it being cold and snowy for a day, we are expecting bitter cold and light snow for several days in a row making this quite different than any storm this year.
Temperatures Monday have the chance of getting into the mid to upper 40s in some areas around the metro before a wicked cold front swings through. Once this cold front moves by, cold air will quickly follow with temperatures falling to near 5º by Tuesday morning. As mentioned, this storm is expected to be rather broad covering many states and it’s also expected to move very slowly so the cold air won’t be going anywhere anytime fast.
Tuesday afternoon highs are expected to stay below 15º across the metro. Wednesday morning lows will approach 0º. And then we’re expecting a very similar temperature forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. Highs in the teens and lows near 0º. We begin to moderate more noticeably by Friday but afternoon highs are still not expected to break freezing. That won’t happen until Saturday when highs will be in the mid-30s.
This leaves us with a possible 5 consecutive days of temperatures below freezing this week. Although a long stretch, it is not long enough to challenge the records for most consecutive days below freezing in Denver. That record was 14 days long and happened in November of 1880.
The only temperature record that is in jeopardy currently is the Tuesday afternoon high temperature. The coldest high temperature ever reported for February 22 was 13º. The current forecast calls for the high to reach 14º.
With temperatures this cold, even a little bit of wind will make it feel much colder. Winds between Monday and Friday are expected to blow between 5-15 mph. Although not very strong, it’ll be enough to make the temperature feel below zero for the majority of this week.
This storm is going to be tricky. Not only is it slow-moving, there is also not much moisture to work with and since temperatures are going to be so cold, the water to snow ratios are going to be very high. On top of this, embedded within this storm will be pockets of energy that will bring enhanced snowfall to the region. So, there’s a lot to watch.
Upslope flow will develop after the cold front on Monday afternoon. That will allow for snow to develop (a few light rain showers may happen first) with a bigger push of snow for Monday night. Much of the I-25 corridor from Castle Rock to Ft. Collins should wake up Tuesday to 1-3 inches of snow.
Tuesday will be a cloudy and cold day. Flurries and light snow will fall throughout the day. Not much more snow will add up Tuesday but Tuesday night, another push of moderate snow is expected.
Between Tuesday night and Thursday morning, an additional 2-3″ of snow is expected. This means that total snow in our area between Monday and Thursday should be between 4-6″ of snow. More snow is expected west of I-25 where Foothill locations could expect 4-8″ of snow.
Overall, the snow won’t be extreme along the Urban Corridor but with temperatures as cold as they are, road conditions will likely remain slick for all of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning. The sun will make a comeback on Thursday but temperatures will be too cold for it to really melt anything.
The mountains are looking at getting a very healthy and much needed dose of snow this week as well.
Plan on winter driving more times than not this workweek. Bundle up those kids and take care of your pets as well. Temperatures look to moderate back into the 40s by the end of the weekend.