Weekend storm: worst impact north and west of Front Range

12:40 PM, Thursday, December 22, 2016

A powerful storm system is expected to move from the California coast Friday to northeastern Colorado on Christmas day where it will really strengthen. That track is likely to be too far north for much impact along the Front Range urban corridor. But be ready for winter travel Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day if you are heading west over the higher passes of Colorado and Wyoming, or north across the northern plains.


Friday to Monday

After a few snow showers around today (mainly to the west of the Front Range), Friday and Christmas Eve should be dry and relatively mild. The Pacific storm should start impacting western Colorado Saturday afternoon or evening. Travel may become difficult in western Colorado. As the storm strengthens and moves from Colorado to Nebraska on Sunday, blizzard conditions are likely across the northern high plains (northern Wyoming, northwestern Nebraska and the Dakotas). Here along the Front Range there may be an increase in wind and some snow showers, but little accumulation is expected at this time in the lower foothills and eastern plains of Colorado. Up near the Wyoming border and in Cheyenne there is a better chance for accumulating snow, but they too will likely be south of the most severe conditions.

I’ll be watching for any shift in the storm track, but almost all indications are that the worst will not impact Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins.


Air travel

The biggest storm of the weekend won’t be directly over any major airport hubs, so that may help reduce the chance of delays. There may be some weather related delays Friday at airports in California; on Saturday at Salt Lake City (snow), New York  and  Washington DC (rain); and on Christmas Day there is a small chance for low clouds and rain (not snow) at Chicago while Dallas has a small chance for thunder.

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