It’s been quite some time since we’ve talked about a big snowstorm in Denver and while this won’t be a chart-topping storm, it will produce the most snow we’ve seen this winter and it will come with below-freezing and below-zero temperatures.

Weather setup for New Years

A strong trough digging into the the Pacific Northwest will conjoin with a weak disturbance near the southern California coast to bring the Front Range its first substantial snow of the season.

This season has only produced 0.3″ of snow thus far. Well behind the normal 20″+ we should have by the end of December. While some of the snow that is coming will fall on the last day of this month, we will still end the month will below-average snowfall – regardless of how much snow falls.

Here are the details on the incoming snow and cold for New Year.

Cold

First off, the cold that is coming with this storm is going to be pretty intense. We haven’t seen cold like this since way early in the year and have definitely not seen temps like this this season.

A cold front will drop down from Wyoming on Friday morning to early afternoon. This will bring temperatures from the 40s in and around Denver down into the teens and 20s pretty quickly. By midnight, temperatures will be well into the lower to mid teens. Saturday morning temperatures should bottom out between 5-10º from Ft. Collins to Boulder to Denver to Castle Rock. Temperatures in Colorado Springs will be in the mid-teens Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon, thanks to new snow on the ground, highs will not break out of the teens for afternoon highs. It will be our coldest day of the season so far. Fun fact* Denver has not recorded a high temperature below freezing yet this winter and that has never happened before. Saturday will be below freezing but that is technically next year so we’ll end the year with no sub-freezing high temperatures for the start of this season.

I digress. Saturday night into Sunday morning will be the coldest night of the upcoming forecast. Overnight lows will drop to near zero for many but a lot of others will feel temperatures below zero by Sunday morning. Here’s a look at the current forecast lows for Saturday night and the forecast ‘feels-like’ temperatures.

Make sure you bring in your animals or provide some shelter and protect yourselves too. These are the types of wind chills that can cause frostbite in 15-20 minutes for exposed skin.

SNOW

A cold front will drop through our area Friday morning and snow will begin shortly after that. You can expect snow to fall in the Foothills and western Suburbs of Denver between noon and 2pm. For Denver and points east, snow will begin between 2-5pm.

The initial snow will be a bit heavy and some banding may set up which will provide heavier snowfall rates at times. By midnight, a couple of inches of snow will be on the ground. Snow continues lightly overnight into Saturday morning before tapering off around noon.

In total, up to a half foot of snow may fall in Denver while areas like Ft. Collins, Boulder, Estes Park, Nederland, Conifer and Idaho Springs will see totals between 5″ and 12″

The mountains will see very big snows from this system so travel advisories are up for that. Winter Storm Watches (in blue above) extend from Ft. Collins to Evergreen. Advisories will be posted in Denver later this afternoon once another run of the models comes in upping confidence in totals.

This is a great forecast for snow and is at least something to watch! Be safe and have fun on New Years – if you go out.

~Andy

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