***9:00AM THURSDAY UPDATE***
WINTER STORM WARNINGS have been issued from Golden to Boulder to Ft. Collins. Expect extremely treacherous travel through the rest of the day into Friday morning.
We have a big burst of snow early Thursday morning as the arctic front swung through. We;ll get a bit of a lull in the action as we head into the middle of the day but then the real dynamics will move in a create the main event this afternoon/evening and into the early morning hours of Friday.
***4:00PM WEDNESDAY UPDATE***
Timing remains unchanged but amounts are trending up in a few areas. From Golden to Boulder to Nederland to Estes Park, 5-10″ of snow is not out of the question. Becuase of this, the current winter weather advisory that is in place for the Foothills and mountains locations *could* be upgraded to a winter storm warning. This strictly has to do with the amount of snow to come. It will be very cold and snowflakes will have no problem forming under the conditions that are coming. Totals haven’t risen much for Denver but we’ll have to watch this upward trend closely.
Plan for a VERY cold, cloudy and snowy day on Thursday and a cold day Friday with clearing skies in the afternoon.
Back again with ANOTHER (final?) chance of snow this week.
A lot of folks woke up Tuesday morning to snow-covered roads and a tricky commute from Denver to Boulder. Areas around Louisville and Erie saw up to 5″ of snow accumulate! Definitely a boom there in terms of snow that fell. There was something known as jet-enhanced banding that occurred in a very particular area that led to those high totals.
As we watch our next storm come down the pipeline, we will once again be looking at jet-enhanced banding but there will be more widespread dynamics in place to allow for many more people to see accumulating snow by Thursday night and Friday morning.
First off, winter weather advisories have already been posted for tough travel and accumulating snow. Here’s a quick glimpse of what is expected region-wide. 2-6″ is a rather wide range but the main messaging here is that there will be snow-covered roads regardless of if you get 2″ or 6″ of snow.
Everywhere in purple is under a winter weather advisory. This means travel WILL be impacted from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning.
In terms of the severity of this storm, it’s not going to be the worst storm we’ve ever seen but it will cause minor to moderate impacts across the Front Range.
Here are the details:
An arctic cold front will drop from north to south from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs Thursday morning early. This will actually allow for temperatures to drop or hold steady throughout the day. Thursday will be a very cold day with clouds and eventually snow developing.
The arctic front will set the stage for upslope snow to develop. This is dynamic #1 in our favor. The upper-level Jet Stream will also drape near us throughout the day. More specifically, the right entrance region of the jet tends to have the most lift and energy with it. This is dynamic #2 that will aid in producing areas of enhanced snow (jet-enhanced snow bands as referenced earlier). Dynamic #3 is frontogenesis or the tightening of the temperature gradient. This is essentially the cold front becoming a bit stronger and adding energy to the atmosphere which will be happening as arctic air meets cool air. The only limiting factor we are working against is some stable air that should be overcame by the other dynamics in play.
These dynamics are why the range in totals is from 2-6″. Some folks may end up in the more favored areas and those more favored areas are expected to get 4-6″ of snow. Whether that happens over Ft. Collins or Denver is still up for debate.
Colorado is outlined in black above. RER = Right Entrance Region with is where the best lift and energy comes from and that is sitting right over northeast Colorado. There will be about 12-18 hours of good dynamics in place to bring light to moderate snow to the area Starting Thursday and lasting until Friday morning.
Additionally, it will be very cold Thursday and Friday so the snow will be light and fluffy and it will be easy to stack up because of that.
We will see morning lows on Thursday drop into the lower 20s and upper teens. Then, the arctic front will move through and drop temperatures a few degrees more but ultimately, it will hold temperatures in the low to mid-20s for the entire day.
So, we have a decent amount of dynamics that will create snow for us, so how much are we looking at? I gave a sneak peek at the top of this blog but here is some more detail.
Above are the expected, high-end and low-end amounts of snow coming.
Updated at 2:30 pm to show increased totals for Boulder/Estes Park. Many folks in the Foothills from Evergreen to Red Feather Lakes are expecting slightly higher totals. That line of higher snowfall totals is slowly creeping east. For now, Denver should end up with 3-5″ of snow. Boulder 6-8″. FoCo 4-6″. Colorado Springs 1-3″. Pueblo ~1″.
Another way to look at what could fall:
This is largely a storm for the Front Range while much of the rest of Colorado will not see nearly as much or any snow.
Thursday night it will be cold with snow falling. Morning lows by Friday should be in the single digits with sub-zero windchills. Lows Saturday morning maybe even colder by a couple of degrees.
This is our first widespread, impactful snow of the season so please be ready for it! Expect tough driving conditions Thursday evening and Friday morning.
Sunshine returns Friday afternoon which should help clear roads but it will still be a very cold day so snow will be slow to melt. We start to moderate temperatures to *near* normal by the end of the weekend into early next week.
Looking past this, another storm looks the near our area the day or two before Thanksgiving so keep an eye on that timeframe for another round of weather.
Enjoy the weather!
Honorable mention for weather:
Downstream of the lakes, up to 3 or 4 FEET of snow may fall this week!