I’ve been tracking a Spring snowstorm this entire week that has still not come into great focus. These Spring storms sometimes are very difficult, sometimes they’re pretty easy but this storm is a more difficult one. Mainly because we’re dealing with a broad trough that will bring unsettled weather for a few days and embedded within that trough will be what is known as shortwaves – or areas or enhanced weather – and those are what we need to pay attention to.
– Unsettled pattern setting up for several days
– Rain (with thunder?) changing to snow for the lower elevations by Saturday
– Biggest ??? is if there will be convective snow in the metro – could lead to high snow totals
– Consistent mountain snow starting now with 10-20″ possible by Monday
– 3-6″+ of snow expected for the Urban Corridor by Monday
A look at the visible satellite this morning shows the storms that I am watching. One of them of over SoCal and the other beginning to impact the PNW (Pacific Northwest). I’ll break these down day by day so it’ll be a bit easier to understand but the tough part of this forecast is that these shortwaves (storm #1 and #2 (and eventually #3)) will impact us one after another from now through early next week making it hard to decipher when one exits and another begins.
This storm will move from SoCal to Nebraska between now and Saturday night.
We’re already seeing low elevation rain and high elevation snow overspreading the mountains and Western Slope this morning. This will continue through the afternoon and evening hours with more widespread snow developing later. For the eastern Plains, it’ll be way warm and mostly cloudy today with highs in the 60s and 70s.
Rain showers will likely develop later this afternoon after 5pm but the best chance of rain and a thunderstorm comes from about 9pm to 4am. This system also has just enough energy in it to possible give us a clap of thunder or two overnight. If you’re a light sleeper, you may get woken up to this.
What is making this forecast with this storm tricky is that if we do get convective (thunder) showers – we could see moderate rain switch over to ~heavy~ snow at some point overnight. Wherever this happens, the chance of seeing a quick 1-3″ of snow is possible. Somewhere across the metro will likely wake up Saturday to a few inches of snow while most of us will have light snow on grassy or elevated surfaces – if that.
Storm #1 is likely to strengthen just to the east of Denver and as it does, an area of heavy snow is looking to develop but that will likely happen east of Denver. Much of the Front Range will have a break in the action Saturday afternoon before storm #2 begins to move in. All the while, the mountains will see consistent snow chances all day Saturday. It’ll be a cool day on Saturday with highs in the 30s and 40s for the Metro.
Storm #2 is stronger and will deliver more widespread impacts to our area. This storm will move from the PNW to the Four Corners between now and Monday. The difference with this storm is it will be stronger, colder and will situate itself in a better position to bring widespread light snow to the area.
We will see an uptick in precipitation Saturday evening with this storm. Light to moderate snow will fall Saturday night through Monday morning for the Front Range. Sunday is looking to be a snowy day with light snow falling for the majority of the day. We will see snow taper off by Monday morning for the Front Range. Mountains will see consistent moderate snow during this time with travel impacts likely.
On the heels of our second storm will be a weak disturbance that will mainly rbing more light snow to the mountains between Monday and Tuesday. This shouldn’t bring anymore snow to the Front Range but the mountains may get an addition few inches when this passes by. This will bring cloud cover to the Front Range and will keep temperatures cool.
Storm total snowfall looks to land in the 4-6″ range for Denver, Ft. Collins and Castle Rock. Boulder should see 6-8″ of snow by Monday. Mountain locations are likely to receive 10-20″+ of snow by Tuesday.
Again, the key to watch here is watch happens overnight inot Saturday morning. If we get a burst of convective snow, we could add a couple inches to these totals but that will be very localized.
After this string of active weather days, we catch a break Tuesday to Wednesday but another, potentially stronger storm will move through Colorado Thursday and Friday and that could also deliver some hefty snow totals – but those details have yet to be ironed out. For now, focus on the near term and realize that we’re in for a long stretch of active weather with few breaks in between through Mid-March.
Here’s a look at temperatures for the Front Range over the next 5 days.
Enjoy this last near 70º day because it’ll be the last for awhile. You can notice warmer temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday during our break in the action.