Big difference in snow potential across metro Denver

12:50 PM, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The first of three potential Front Range snowfalls between now and the end of March will occur tonight and Wednesday. This storm, although strong, will not be characterized by deep upslope flow, so areas near the foothills have the smallest potential for heavy snow, while the northeastern plains (and possibly the east side of Denver) are likely to see some heavy snow and blowing snow.


The storm will first impact the mountains tonight, mainly west of Peak-to-Peak highway. As the storm system intensifies Wednesday morning in east-central Colorado, the northeastern plains are likely to see some areas with heavy snow and blowing snow, perhaps after some rain initially. Along the Front Range, north winds will not favor sustained snowfall, except to the south of Denver as the north winds push up the Palmer Divide. In some areas of light precipitation it may stay warm enough so that rain occurs.


Mountain & Palmer Divide accumulation: 4-8 inches, less in the foothills (below 8000′) of Boulder and Larimer counties.


Lower elevations:

3-6 inches: along and south of a Lakewood-Denver-DIA line, but not Colorado Springs.

6-12 inches with high wind: parts of the northeastern plains (~25% chance this will be as far west as Aurora and DIA.

0-3 inches: northwest suburbs of Denver, Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins; and to the south of the Palmer Divide in Colorado Springs (yes, there may be areas with no snow).


The next 7-10 days: another storm Friday night and Saturday looks like it will be more of the classic “upslope” type bringing widespread snow, but it’s too early to pin down amounts. Mid to late next week may bring another snowy period to close out the month.


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