Weekend: snow mountains, windy & mild plains; Christmas outlook

12:45 PM MST, Friday, December 19, 2014

Pacific storm systems are likely to impact Colorado/Wyoming on Sunday/Monday and again on Dec 25-26. The impacts from one side of the mountains to the other may be very different!

Sunday-Monday:

The first storm is likely to bring heavy snow and wind to mountain areas near and west of the continental divide, but especially northern Colorado and south-central Wyoming. Amounts of a foot should be common, and some areas may get two feet. Strong winds will cause blowing snow, especially above treeline. Be prepared for travel impacts especially at high passes along and to the north of I-70.

The Front Range and eastern plains are likely to see dry and relatively mild weather Sunday, but with increasingly windy conditions. Damaging downslope winds may develop in and near the foothills Sunday and/or Sunday night. As the storm pulls east, a secondary disturbance is likely to produce some accumulating snow in parts of eastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming on Monday.

Dec 24-26:

Quieter weather is likely on Tuesday-Wednesday (Christmas Eve) and local travel should be fine. There is a lot of uncertainty about the evolution of the next storm from the Pacific. It appears likely that western mountain areas will get a moderate snowfall beginning Christmas Day. The potential does exist for significant snow for the Front Range and southeastern Wyoming late on Christmas Day or the 26th. However, the trend has been away from that possibility, but I think it’s too early to write it off yet.

Air travel:

Major airports in the Pacific Northwest are likely to be dealing with low clouds and rain this weekend. Low clouds and rain are likely at Chicago on Monday, maybe changing to light snow by Christmas Eve.  The East Coast is likely to experience some rain and wind on Christmas Eve for the major coastal airports. For DIA, I will be watching the potential for snow and wind on Monday and updating this weekend.

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