Author Archives: mkelsch14

About mkelsch14

I work for the COMET Program at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. I am the NWS cooperative climate observer and the local CoCoRaHs network coordinator. I have an MS degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, and a BS in meteorology from the State University of New York, College at Oswego.

Cold week, wet snow at times

5 AM MDT, Monday, April 12, 2021

As advertised, the cooling trend began on Sunday and colder than average weather is likely to continue into the coming weekend. Beginning this evening we are also likely to see intervals of low clouds and wet snow (maybe a bit of rain in the lower elevations).

The first chance for precipitation is tonight. Snow accumulations should be minor, if any, and mainly limited to grassy areas. Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning will probably bring a better chance for snow accumulation. During that period there could be around 4-8 inches in places like Nederland and Estes Park, and 1-4 inches in the lower elevations. And there will probably be at least one more period of snow before the end of the week.

Spring to take a hiatus next week

12:30 PM MDT, Friday, April 9, 2021

Saturday is shaping up to be the warmer day of the weekend. By Sunday a cooling trend will set in, although it still looks mainly dry. But the pattern shaping up may bring us a full week of below-average temperature and at last one chance for widespread wet snow. It’s hard to say at this point when it will snow and which days may be coldest. Right now it looks like Sunday and Monday will be mainly dry and cooler, but colder and wetter weather may move in toward midweek. Well, if you lived in these parts for any length of time, you know that’s April in the Rockies.

Thunder today?

6AM MDT, Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Cooler weather and a weak storm system will likely result in some clouds and a scattering of showers later today. It’s possible that a few of those showers might be strong enough to produce some lightning and thunder. Showers that are still in the area tonight may change to snow. Overall, many parts of the urban corridor will get by with little or no precipitation. But a subset of the area may see a brief heavy shower this afternoon and/or enough snow to whiten grassy areas tonight.

Mild weather should return by Thursday followed by another brief spell of colder weather on Friday.

Brief cold snap tonight/Tuesday, then back to spring Wednesday afternoon

2PM MDT, Monday, march 29, 2021

A strong cold front is through Casper, WY and approaching Cheyenne at mid afternoon, and should move through the Colorado Front Range region this evening. Tuesday is likely to be at least 20 degrees colder than today. Only minor precipitation is expected tonight and early Tuesday. Where there is snow it will likely be just and inch or two mainly in grassy areas. The best chance is south of Denver. It is looking like we will have pleasant spring weather Wednesday through the weekend.

Minor snow possible this evening

7AM MDT, Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The latest reinforcement of cold air may bring some some clouds and snow later today and this evening. The best chances for accumulation are in the Palmer divide north to Denver where there could be an inch or two (maybe 3-5 in the foothills southwest of Denver). Farther north in Broomfield and Boulder the chances decease. Farther north than that in Longmont, Fort Collins, and Cheyenne, the chance for any measurable snow is small.

Another cold front late Friday could bring another chance for a minor snowfall, and then some springlike weather will probably move in by Sunday.

Happy Equinox: Spring today, but not tomorrow

6 AM MDT, Saturday, March 20, 2021

The equinox was at 3:37 AM, and it will feel like spring today, but winter weather will stage a comeback on Sunday. Snow is likely to begin across the Front Range region Sunday afternoon (possible some rain at first below 6000 feet). Although this storm is not as large as last weekend’s, some areas of significant snowfall are likely through Monday morning, mainly south of Fort Collins.

Most likely accumulation:

6-12 inches: above 6500 feet in Boulder, Jefferson, Gilpin, Clear Creek, and Douglas counties.

3-7 inches: west and south sides of Denver metro, Castle Rock, Broomfield, Boulder

1-3 inches: northeast side of Denver, Longmont, Fort Collins

less than 1 inch: north of Fort Collins

Cold week

The week is likely to be generally colder than average with a couple more chances of at least some light snow midweek and toward the weekend.

Minor snow possible today

7 AM MDT, Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A storm moving eastward through New Mexico today and tonight will bring significant snow to the CO/NM border areas, but its impact in the Front Range region will be minor. Some parts of the area will likely get by without any measurable snow, while others may pick up an inch or two during the late afternoon or overnight hours.

After that it should be dry Wednesday afternoon through Saturday, with mild temperatures back in place by the time of the Spring equinox at 3:27 AM MDT on Saturday. The next cold front might arrive as early as Sunday.

Tonight: lose an hour, gain a snowstorm

6:30 AM MST, Saturday, March 13, 2021

Since yesterday there is more forecast confidence that there won’t be a significant rain phase in the lower elevations, although there will probably be some rain and drizzle today. The heaviest period is expected to be snow later this afternoon through Sunday morning. At this time of year nighttime snowfall allows for better accumulation efficiency than during the day. Periods of accumulating snow are likely all the way into Sunday evening. We are now seeing the storm organize to the southwest and moisture streaming toward the Front Range from the east (lots of fog over the high plains). The short range models have moistened this storm a little since yesterday.

So I’ve bumped up some of the accumulation ranges a little. There are still some modeled solutions calling for widespread 5 feet in the mountains and 2-3 feet in the lower elevations, but I continue to believe that is unlikely.

20-36 inches: southeastern Wyoming, Colorado Front Range above 6500 feet for Larimer, Boulder, Gilpin, and Jefferson counties (lesser amounts as you move south toward the Pikes Peak region). I do expect some reports over 3 feet, most likely in Wyoming, or some small regions of either Larimer or Boulder Counties in Colorado.

18-24 inches: Fort Collins, Boulder, Broomfield, west and northwest Denver suburbs.

12-18 inches: most of Denver area, Longmont

4-9 inches: Colorado Springs (heaviest on north side)

Pulling back on the snow amounts

Noon MST, Friday, March 12, 2021

There is a lot more forecast guidance now available for the main snowy period from late Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, including the short range, high resolution weather models. Although there is a still a large range of snowfall possibility, a majority of the guidance does point to less precipitation and slightly denser snow than the previous outlook. It still looks like the heaviest amounts will be in southeastern Wyoming, fairly minor amounts in Colorado Springs, and a transition to the lesser amounts somewhere south of Denver. A small portion of the guidance suggests rain in the urban corridor through Saturday evening, but I still think it is likely that most precipitation will be snow when the heavier period begins late Saturday afternoon.

Updated most likely accumulation

20-30 inches: southeastern Wyoming (some 36-inch amounts on east-facing slopes).

18-28 inches: east slopes of Colorado mountains above 6500 feet and north of I-70.

10-20 inches: east slopes above 6500 feet south of I-70 and north of Pikes Peak

12-20 inches: Fort Collins, Boulder, Broomfield, and northwest Denver suburbs

8-15 inches: most of metro Denver, Longmont

less than 6 inches: Colorado Springs

Outlier possibilities on the high end

The very big amounts that have been talked about the last few days (and die hard on social media), are still possible, but the chances appear to be around 10%.

Outlier possibility on the low end

Similarly on the low end is an unlikely but still plausible scenario where the numbers above can be cut in half. That’s about a 10% chance in Wyoming and maybe 20% in Colorado.

Get the snow shovels ready

Noon MDT, Thursday, March 11, 2021

Timing changes since yesterday

The onset of the storm is a little delayed compared to previous outlooks. Significant precipitation is unlikely before Friday evening. The heaviest period of snow is likely to be late Saturday into Sunday.

Key features of weekend storm

The absolute heaviest snow is likely in eastern Wyoming. Cheyenne may very well exceed 2 feet and rival its biggest snow of record (~26″).

Heavy accumulations are likely from metro Denver northward (Colorado Springs will likely be south of the heaviest snow, but should still expect some snow & wind).

Rain?

Relatively warm, moist air will be drawn in from the southern plains, and a significant portion of the precipitation on the eastern plains may fall as rain. The rain area has trended westward with time, but it still appears that precipitation will be mainly snow for the urban corridor. I would not be surprised to see a little rain in the Denver-Boulder area prior to Saturday evening.

Most likely amounts

2-3 feet southeastern Wyoming and the east slopes of the Colorado mountains & foothills north of the Colorado Springs area. I expect to see a sub-region in this area report over three feet.

20-29 inches Fort Collins, Boulder, Broomfield, and the west suburbs of Denver

16-24 inches Denver, DIA, Longmont

Do I think there can be more? Yes, I’d put that at 20% chance. Also, the same chance (20%) that there could be less than the ranges given above.