5:45 AM MDT, Thursday, March 26, 2020
Today will be the last day with above-average temperatures for a while. Although very cold weather is not expected, Friday will trend colder with clouds around and some showery precipitation. This is not expected to be a very wet storm like last week. Saturday to Monday are forecast to be generally dry (maybe a few showers around Monday). Sunday will probably see the mildest temperatures of the weekend, with afternoon temperatures close to average (which is upper 50s for Denver-Boulder).
Will it snow Friday? The precipitation that is around Friday morning is expected to be intermittent and mainly rain below 7500 feet. Later Friday there is a chance for a change to snow in lower elevations, mainly in southeastern Wyoming and in the Palmer Divide region of Colorado. Accumulations in Cheyenne and the Palmer Divide region are likely to be in the 2-5 inch range. For Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, 0-2 inches. The chance for accumulation goes up with elevation, and there is a good chance for a 6-inch snowfall above 7500 feet.
2:40 PM MDT, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Spring officially begins tomorrow at 9:49 PM. A strong storm should move fairly quickly through the region in the morning to afternoon hours with rain, snow and wind. There may be a few showers scattered around this evening. Toward morning rain below 6000 is likely, and snow above 6000 feet (probably starting as rain between 6000 and 7000 feet). The heaviest precipitation is likely Thursday morning when it will transition to snow at all elevations, probably organized into some intense north-south bands. If those bands occur before the changeover in lower elevations, most precipitation will fall as rain. For low elevation areas that experience the heavier bands after the change to snow, there could be 6 inches in a few hours.
One of the better performing high-resolution models, the HRRR, forecasts little or no snow for parts of the region below 6000 feet (including Boulder and northwest Denver). Although I can’t dismiss that, I think a more likely scenario is widespread accumulation below 6000 feet, with some locally heavy areas.
Mountains, foothills, Palmer Divide above 6500 feet: 10-18 inches.
Below 6500 feet: widespread 3-6 inches mainly in grassy areas, with a subset of the area (not necessarily near the foothills) getting 6-10 inches in a short period of time and experiencing travel disruptions. Colorado Springs will probably get less than 3″.
Gusty north-northeast winds will probably cause blowing snow, especially along and east of I-25.
4:10 PM MDT, Tuesday, March 17, 2020
A strong storm system is still expected to move through the Front Range region Wednesday night and Thursday. We will likely see a mild Wednesday ending with a small chance for showers and thunderstorms late in the day. Wednesday night will bring a good chance for rain below 6000 feet, snow above 8000 feet, and rain changing to snow in between. Thursday morning is when we will likely see a changeover to snow at all elevations, then tapering off late in the day.
Thursday morning is the most uncertain part of the forecast. Although the storm is farther south that it appeared it would be in yesterday’s forecasts, it is moving rather quickly and may do most of its intensification as it gets to the east of the Front Range. For now the Front Range urban corridor should expect that there could be a period of heavy snow and wind early Thursday with amounts around 6 inches in a short period of time (lesser chances in Colorado Springs). Foothills and mountains could see locally 12-18″, mainly north of I-70. Will update tomorrow.
12:30 PM MDT, Monday, March 16, 2020
This afternoon through Wednesday
There is a cold front moving southwestward across northeastern Colorado at noon today. The temperatures at noon are about as warm as they are likely to get, and it may start trending cooler this afternoon. It’s not a cold air mass moving in, so tonight and Tuesday are likely to be cool, but not cold, with some clouds around through Tuesday morning. Wednesday is likely to see warmer temperatures.
Wednesday night and Thursday
A strong storm should move through the central Rockies Wednesday evening and Thursday with some rain or thunderstorms in its warm sector, and the potential for blizzard conditions on the north side of the storm track as it moves into the Great Plains. With the center of the surface storm likely to be in northeastern or east-central Colorado, it may strengthen too late and be too far north for major snowfalls in metro Denver-Boulder. But we can’t write it off yet.
Here’s a roundup of what it is currently looking like for different parts of the area:
Far northeastern plains of Colorado , western Nebraska, southeastern Wyoming (including the Cheyenne area): Good chance for a period of heavy snow and wind Thursday and Thursday night with travel disruptions.
Fort Collins and Greeley: lesser chances of heavy snow here, but certainly it’s still a real possibility.
Denver-Boulder metro: Chances are smaller here, but even here just a small shift in storm track (to the south and west) could result in a significant storm.
Colorado Springs: there would have to be a major error in the current models for a big snowstorm in Colorado Springs.
For most areas there will probably be some rain or thundershowers around on Wednesday evening as the storm approaches, and blustery north winds as the storm pulls away late Thursday.
Spring officially begins at 9:49 PM MDT on Thursday.
6 AM MDT, Thursday, March 12, 2020
It is mild out there this morning, and the mildest part of the day may be this morning. Colder air will likely move into the Front Range region from northeast to southwest today, and there may even be some areas of low clouds by late in the day. Friday should be a cold day, mainly cloudy, and with intermittent snow or rain mixed with snow. Little or no snow accumulation is expected.
After that we are in for a milder weekend, although probably not as warm as the last few days. The next cold front is likely to come along late Monday or Tuesday.
7:50 AM MST, Saturday, March 7, 2020
Today and tomorrow will be mild, springlike days, and remember that the clocks go forward an hour tonight for Daylight Saving Time.
By late tomorrow afternoon a weak cold front will be moving through the Front Range region. A scattering of showers is likely in the late afternoon and evening. Those showers are expected to be mainly rain in the lower foothills and plains. There is about a 50-50 chance of missing the precipitation, and where it does hit it shouldn’t last long. On the other hand, there may be a few isolated showers that are strong enough to produce some thunder.
Although Monday will be post-frontal, it really shouldn’t be that much cooler. The midweek period is looking mild and dry.