Monthly Archives: December 2021

Snow and cold arrives for New Year’s Eve

3:20 PM MST, Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The main update since my blog yesterday morning is that there is more confidence for a significant snowfall Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. Even in the urban corridor you should expect winter travel conditions by evening on New Year’s Eve.

Timing: Much colder weather will move into the Front Range region Friday morning (possibly afternoon south of Denver). Snowfall is appearing likely Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning, heaviest will probably be Friday evening.

Amounts: The potential exists for widespread 5-8 inches in and along the foothills (with some local reports around 10), including Fort Collins, Boulder, Nederland, and the west suburbs of Denver. Lesser amounts are expected as you move east, but still significant enough to impact travel. Look for 3-6 inches in Cheyenne, Longmont, DIA; and 2-4 inches in Colorado Springs.

Cold: Prepare for a shock to the system! Temperatures are likely to fall quickly to the teens after snow begins Friday, bottom out in the 0-10 range New Year’s Day morning, and struggle to make 20 on New Year’s Day. The cold should let up noticeably by Monday.

New Year’s Eve snow

5:30 AM MST, Tuesday, December 28, 2021

It may seem cold this week, but it’s just a turn toward temperatures more seasonal for this time of year. It’s looking like New Year’s Eve will bring the next chance for snow in the eastern foothills and plains. In fact, given how this season has been, it may be the first snow of any significance for the urban corridor. A big snowstorm is not expected, but a widespread occurrence of at least 2-4 inches could make for wintry travel by Friday evening, possibly as early as the afternoon. New Year’s Day is likely to be the coldest day so far this season, with low elevation temperatures probably failing to rise above the 20s. It doesn’t look like a long-duration change, at least not this time. Temperatures are likely to get milder again by early next week.

Happy winter solstice

5:30 AM MST, Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The winter solstice is just before 9AM MST today. The days will start getting longer again, but only by tiny amounts at first, then a little faster by midwinter.

The Front Range region is entering the winter season with remarkably low snowfall amounts and very little cold weather. Boulder has only received 1.7″ of snow so far, and Denver/DIA is at 0.3″.

Additional snow is not likely between now and Christmas, but the chance isn’t zero either. A Pacific storm on Christmas Eve will likely bring snow to the higher mountains and west-facing slopes, so be prepared for some winter travel at the high passes. There is a chance for some precipitation on Christmas Eve for the urban corridor, but the chance is small, and it won’t necessarily be snow.

Update on Wednesday windstorm

2:45 PM MST, Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Although I have not changed the basics of the forecast since the blog I did this morning, I want to remind you that the wind tomorrow is likely to be widespread and potentially damaging in the foothills and plains of eastern Colorado. Many areas will likely see 60 mph winds, and I expect some locations will see winds of 100 mph.

High wind on Wednesday

6 AM MST, Tuesday, December 14, 2021

An intense Pacific storm will be moving east through the central Rockies tomorrow morning bringing snow to the mountains and strong wind to eastern Colorado.

Moisture. Pacific moisture with the storm should bring snow (~6-10″) to the higher elevations, especially west-facing slopes late tonight and tomorrow morning. The track and wind direction do not favor widespread precipitation for the eastern foothills and plains. But there will probably be a brief period with squally rain or snow showers for the eastern foothills and plains Wednesday morning, with little or no accumulation.

Wind. The main impact for the eastern foothills and plains will likely be strong and potentially damaging west-northwest winds on Wednesday. Those winds should kick in Wednesday morning with the Pacific cold front (and the brief period of rain or snow showers). Gusts exceeding 70 mph will probably be recorded in many locations. I would not be surprised to hear about some wind gust to 100.

Little or nothing for eastern plains; major snow in mountains

5:40 AM MST, Thursday, December 9, 2021

Denver could extend its record for the latest first snow by getting through the next 24 hours by missing out on this one too! There may be a few local areas of minor snow accumulation (and inch or less) for the lower foothills and plains of the Front Range, but many parts of this region appear likely to get by with little or nothing. It does still appear that heavy snow will fall in the higher mountains and along some west-facing slopes of Colorado and Wyoming. That’s it until the middle of next week, and at this point that one is not looking like much of a precipitation maker east of the continental divide.

Snow coming for mountains; probably a minor event for the Front Range urban corridor

5:50 AM, Wednesday December 8, 2021

A significant snowfall is coming to the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming Thursday and Friday (mainly Thursday night). Over a foot is likely near and to the west of the continental divide. Lesser amounts are expected to the east in places like Nederland and Estes Park (2-4 inches). Heavy snow is likely on the plains in east-central Wyoming, mainly north of Cheyenne. Cheyenne will probably see 3-6 inches.

For the Colorado urban corridor, this will likely be a minor snowfall of a dusting to 2 inches, mainly Thursday evening through Friday morning. There is a chance of getting more than 2″, mainly to the north of Denver, but that is the less likely scenario. There is also a small chance of getting by without any snow, mainly south of Denver. The snow that does fall will likely be oriented in narrow bands from southwest to northeast, so conditions can change rapidly over short distances.

Until then, we may see some areas of strong west wind in and along the lower foothills later today and early Thursday.

Weather may be a little more seasonable next week

12:30 PM MST, Friday, December 3, 2021

I probably don’t need to point out that we had a record or near record meteorological autumn (September-October-November) in many locations along the Front Range in both terms of both warmth and dryness. Then December started out with a couple record highs in many locations.

Today may seem cool, but we are still running about 10 degree above average. Saturday through Sunday morning are likely to see more unusually warm weather, with an increasing chance of strong, gusty west winds late Saturday into early Sunday. Then Sunday afternoon and evening should turn colder, but not bitter cold, to start the new week. There will probably be additional cold fronts around Tuesday night and again at the end of the week, with some brief warm up ahead of those fronts.

You probably want to know about moisture. The cold fronts late Sunday and Tuesday night are looking mainly dry along the Front range. There may be some minor snowfall in the high terrain, mainly on west-facing slopes. Both long range models suggest that in the Friday-Saturday time period (next week) we stand a better chance for significant snow with a colder air mass. But be aware that there were a few time in the past few weeks that looked promising for snow and cold in the 7-10 day range, and then those fizzled out. Let’s hope this chance actually hangs together.