After a warm weekend (with no record high temperatures – although DEN did hit 80º on Monday for the first time this year), we’re back to our wet and cool March. A low pressure moved onshore California and is traveling south of our area. Several nuances in the atmosphere are leading to today (Tuesday) being a wet, stormy, snowy and windy day. Let’s dive in.
There are three distinct areas of unsettled weather found in the upper levels of the atmosphere today – they’re circled in red. These will all play a role in our weather over the next couple of days. The main parent system is the one over Arizona and New Mexico – this is bring most of the cloudy and wet weather with it. The second main weather producer will develop in NE Colorado this afternoon and will draw cold air in from the north dropping temperatures this afternoon (and snow levels). The third chunk of energy is in Montana and will swing south between now and Wednesday night bringing another push of cold and scattered rain/snow showers.
Rain and snow has already developed but will increase in intensity and coverage this afternoon. There is just enough instability in the atmosphere for a few rumbles of thunder today in some of the stronger convection that develops. I think this is most likely over the Palmer Divide and eastern Plains.
Snow levels are up around 8,000-8,500′ this morning. They’ll be dropping through the day. Snow levels go to 6,500′ by 3-5pm and then down to 5,000′ by 9-11pm. Here’s a look at what the radar may look like through the day today. Note where areas of rain and snow are – they’re very elevation dependant.
Mountains and mountain valleys should see all snow through the day today and snow will linger through the overnight hours lightly. For the eastern Plains and I-25 corridor, a sloppy spring storm setting up. Rain, heavy at times – with thunder possible – is expected up and down I-25 today.
As the low in NE Colorado gets going, it will begin to draw in colder air from the north. This is will begin the changeover process starting up north and moving south. The Palmer Divide ang mountain locations may have snow squalls today (think heavy, white out snow that lasts for a brief amount of time). This is expected to hinder traffic through the Gap area between Denver and Colorado Springs this afternoon/evening and overnight. This will also hinder traffic in the mountains at times. Denver will eventually see a changeover to snow late tonight but precip will be winding down around of just after midnight so we won’t have much moisture left to work with which will limit snow accumulations.
Either way, a nice drink of water is expected with the rains today. FoCo may be spared from most of the wet weather but areas around Denver can expect a quarter inch of rain today. For snow, the western and SW Foothills around Denver with see a heavy, wet snow accumulate on grassy surfaces and lightly on roads.
If you have travel plans in the mountains, be prepared for a tough drive through Wednesday morning.
THE REST OF THE WEEK
Wednesday will be mostly dry (or drying out) but it’ll be cool and breezy. Highs will only be around 50º in Denver (cooler where it snowed) and winds will be gusting up to 20-30 mph at times.
Thursday will be much sunnier and warmer during the morning and early afternoon. Our next disorganized storm begins to move through Thursday evening to Friday. It will bring another round of light rain and snow to the region. This is not looking impactful but look for rain and snow to develop in the evening and continue through Friday morning. This will bring a tiny bit of more snow to the mountains and maybe a few rain showers and snow flurries to the lover elevations.
We’ll end March on a cool and wet note and begin April with hit or miss rain and snow showers through the first week of the month. It looks like the weather turns more steadily nice around midweek next week.