Winter’s last stand

12:15 PM, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A slow moving storm system in the Southwest and an unseasonably cold air mass from the north will affect the Front Range region from Wednesday to Friday. This weather pattern is threatening to bring measurable snow, even in the lower elevations.

Snow

The first threat of snow will begin Wednesday night into Thursday morning. There will likely be some heavy wet snow for the upper foothills and mountains, with a chance for that snow reaching down the plains by Thursday morning. The storm system probably won’t move to the east of the Front Range until Friday, so there may be addition chances for snow Thursday evening.

At this time of year enough of the sun’s energy gets through the cloud cover to make it difficult (but not impossible) for accumulating snow during the day. The things to watch for are whether the storm center will pass just to the south of the Front Range and whether the heavier precipitation will occur during the evening through early morning hours.

Keep in mind that only a few inches of snow at this time of year can cause damage to trees and power lines. Although there is still uncertainty about the snow, it’s not a bad idea to check that your flashlights have good batteries.

 

Temperature

Depending on the evolution of the storm, both Thursday and Friday mornings could see temperatures around freezing. If the skies clear out Friday night, Saturday morning may be at risk for areas of frosts and freezes as well.

 

Historical Context

Although it is unseasonably late for snow and freezes, it is not rare. In Boulder there have been at least two measurable snows recorded in June (the latest was 1.0 inch on June 12, 1947). On May 20-21, 1931 there was a 19-inch snowfall in Boulder (the trees must’ve loved that). Record lows below freezing extend into the early part of June.

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