Winter Storm to Drop Up to a Foot of Snow Around Denver Tuesday Night Through Wednesday. Big Travel Impacts Expected.

DENVER WEATHER

Hi all! Sorry for the tardiness in this forecast. I was in Vegas for a volleyball tournament this last weekend and I didn’t bring my laptop. It’s been nice to have a slight break for the active weather in December. Now that the snow from those storms has almost melted (in some areas more than others), it’s time for another!

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7:30 am update TUESDAY

Global and hi res modeling is showing more snow accumulating along and west of the I-25 corridor with this event. If you live in Superior, Boulder, Highlands Ranch, expect a bit more snow than what was forecast. This goes for the Denver metro as well. There’s high confidence in snowfall totals exceeding 6-8″ with the possibility of a foot or snow there. Here’s a blurb from the forecast discussion this morning.

Here’s a look at updated expected and high end snow totals. With models showing even slight trends up in totals this close to the event, it’s likely we’ll end with totals near the higher end that is expected.

This leaves Denver with a solid chance at getting a foot of snow. In fact, there’s a 35% chance of seeing more than 12″ of snow downtown which is pretty high compared to what kind of storms we normally get in January.

Here’s another look at expected impacts and timing.


The incoming storm has all the makings of a great spring storm that would normally impact us in March so for this magnitude of storm to occur in mid January, is rather rare. We’re looking at a lot of moisture with this storm which will be great to continue to better our drought conditions.

Since most, not all, of the details are worked out – let’s focus on details, timing and impacts. Picture below are the active weather alerts across Colorado. Pink is a Winter Storm WARNING (meaning winter storm conditions start within 24 hours) and Winter Weather Advisories are in purple.

First, please, please, please shovel your sidewalks. The way the snow stuck around last time is EXACTLY how this will be for this storm. It will be a lot of snow and it is likely to hang around through the end of January. This could also be another damaging storm brings more tree limbs down. Be advised of that possibility if you park on the streets.

Snow Amount

This is a classic upslope snow event. Most major weather models have a low pressure strengthening over SE Colorado Tuesday before moving into central Kansas from Wednesday to Thursday. With the counterclockwise flow around these low pressure systems, winds will be getting push up from lower terrain to higher terrain creating lift and condensation (snow/precip).

The strength and speed of this storm can have major impacts to these setups as you could imagine. As it’s looking right now, here is what is expected across the state of Colorado from now through Thursday.

Right now, it looks like we’ll have 6-12 hours of good snow production which simplifies down to the snow rate. We could get snowfall rates of 1 inch per hour (higher and lower at times) which results to the totals seen below.

Most of Colorado will be getting something from this storm although the NW and SE corners will largely miss out. This will be a very impactful storm for the Denver metro to Boulder, Ft. Collings and out towards the Nebraska and Kansas border. While Colorado Springs and Pueblo are expecting snow, the impacts won’t be as severe as the aforementioned locations. The mountains will also face some very difficult travel – especially in SW Colorado near Durango and Pagosa Springs.

Here’s another way to look at possible outcomes for this storm.

There’s a slight discrepancy in the totals on this compared to the one image above but I feel that this image reflects the potential best. Downtown Denver getting 8-13″ of snow would make Wednesday a damn near impossible day to get around.

Shovel your sidewalks!

Timing

Snow is beginning in the mountains now and will continue as the night goes on. Snow will begin to spread north through the day Tuesday and eventually start on the Eastern Plains and around the Denver area between 2-6pm. It will be heaviest in the nighttime hours Tuesday to Wednesday. Snow is expected to be heavy Wednesday morning before tapering off midday and will be completely done by Wednesday 6pm to midnight.

The evening commute on Tuesday will be slippery and potentially impacted. Wednesday morning and evening will definitely be impacted if not impossible. I’d expect really big airport delays as well with this amount of snow.

I’ve mentioned the snow is going to stick around for awhile and that’s for 3 reasons. 1) the amount of snow we’re about to get will take a while to melt 2) more snow chances in the next ten days 3) cool weather and cloudiness will make the snow stay put and given that it’s January and still the middle of winter, the sun angle won’t be too high to help out with the melting process.

Here’s a look at our next snow chances. While some of these are not guaranteed, we’re looking at a few possible “refreshes” of snow at the end of this week and beginning of next and so on. None look to be major storms.

And here’s a look at the forecast temps for the next 7 days.

Enjoy the snow. It’s going to be a lot and it’s going to feel like winter around here for a very long time. Unfortunately the complaints and issues with Denver’s snow “removal” plan are going to rear its ugly head again so…mentally prepare for that.

I’ll keep adding to this post with updates so please check back for additional updates.

Enjoy the weather!

~Andy

One response to “Winter Storm to Drop Up to a Foot of Snow Around Denver Tuesday Night Through Wednesday. Big Travel Impacts Expected.”

  1. Love your forecasts! Thanks, as always, Andy! 🙂

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