We’ve waited weeks to talk about the snow forecast for the Front Range and now, with snow still on the ground in many areas, we’re talking about another possibility of accumulation. Incoming systems will also increase winds along the foothills and adjacent plains Tuesday through Thursday.
Two short waves – small ripples of energy in the air flowing above us – are expected to pass through northern Colorado between Tuesday and Thursday and while each brings different impacts, they will both bring windy conditions.
You will notice the first short wave on Tuesday as a cold front will be associated with it. Winds will increase behind the front and due to a mountain wave pattern, these winds could reach upwards of 70-80 mph along east-facing ridges and mountains near Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). In patterns like this, it is not uncommon for stronger winds to reach Jefferson and Boulder counties. There could be a few periods of strong winds of 60-70 mph or more around Rocky Flats and Boulder on Tuesday. Stronger winds are also likely closer to the Wyoming border where areas around Ft. Collins can gust to 55-65 mph. Denver could even see gusts of 40 mph on Tuesday.
There is not much moisture with this system, but the orography (mountains) will play a part in producing some flurries for the high ground of RMNP and the Park Range near Steamboat. About 2 to 4 inches are expected in these areas by Wednesday morning. No snow for lower elevations.
The next short wave will pass on Wednesday and will be a little stronger. You will notice another cold front as it moves in bringing colder temperatures, more wind and some snow. Winds will increase behind the front and could at times be in excess of 30 mph from Fort Collins to Castle Rock. Pair these winds with snowfall and you’ll struggle to drive at times.
Snow will fall in the mountains along and north of Interstate 70 Tuesday evening through Thursday morning. Up to 14 inches of snow is possible for mountains around Summit County and Aspen by Thursday morning. Winter Park, RMNP and Steamboat could pick up a foot to a foot and a half of snow by Thursday, adding to their growing snowpack. Some favorite peaks will receive up to two feet of snow. Severe driving conditions will be likely on I-70 Tuesday evening through Thursday morning.
Lower elevations can also expect snow with this system. Areas from the Conifer Foothills to Estes Park and those along the I-25 corridor from Castle Rock to Fort Collins can expect 1 to 5 inches of snow Wednesday through Thursday morning. The further north you are, the more snow will fall. The Denver Metro is expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow by Thursday morning.
Thursday morning will be freezing again with temperatures near freezing and even below freezing in the northeastern plains. Thursday afternoon highs are not expected to rise above freezing on Thursday, so it will be a cold day with persistent gusty winds. We are warming up around average for the weekend.
Gather! Another couple of cold days are coming.