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.

Minor storm moving through, then mild by the end of the weekend

6:20 AM MST, Friday, January 14, 2022

Don’t get too excited about the chances for snow over the next 24 hours. For most areas north and east of Denver, there will likely be little or nothing except for colder temperatures. Even where it does snow (best chance south & west of Denver but north of Colorado Springs), accumulations should be light. The 3-day holiday weekend is expected to be dry, with a trend toward milder weather by Sunday and Monday.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my previous blog. I really appreciate it. I thought maybe I’d have an exciting local storm to write about for my last post, but I don’t 🙂 I hope you always get to safely enjoy the variety of weather this region delivers!

End of the blog

9AM MST, Saturday, January 8, 2022

I’ll get to the weather in a moment, but I first want to announce that when my subscription for WordPress (host to this blog) is up for renewal on January 16th, I won’t be renewing. I’ve been doing these blogs for 20 years, first as an email list, then through this site. This blog has never been a paid job for me. I don’t regret that at all because I love the weather and sharing my knowledge of it. I am also honored by the hundreds who follow the blog and the praise I have received from many of you. Thank you!

Because of the popularity of this site, I have felt compelled to write blogs while I was away on vacation to answer questions about pending storms. Again, I have absolutely no regrets doing that, but I don’t want to do it any more. I am now retired from my main job and I am exploring new opportunities in meteorology and climate science. It seems like a good time to let go of the blog.

The weather

Some colder and unsettled weather will be moving through the region today. It appears there will be little or no precipitation for most of the Front Range lower foothills and plains. The exception may be south of Denver where there may be an inch or two of snow (including Colorado Springs). Some minor snow accumulation is probable higher up too, around Nederland and Eisenhower Tunnel. Dry and relatively mild weather are likely to return for Monday-Wednesday, and maybe the whole week.

Turning cold with a bit of snow

6:30 AM MST, Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cold air will push back into the Front Range region this afternoon and early evening sending temperatures in the urban corridor to the 0-10 range tonight. After a cold Thursday, milder and breezy conditions should return on Friday.

Later this afternoon and evening we should see a widespread snow with very variable accumulations. In general it will be a light snow, but there are likely to be long and narrow bands (100-200 miles long and 10-20 miles wide) of heavier snow that develop and dissipate. The bands will be oriented northwest to southeast. Therefore, snow accumulations are likely to range from 1-5 inches from metro Denver north, depending on if you get a period of heavier snow. As you go south from Denver, the heavier bands are less likely, and there could even be some areas with little or no accumulation.

Windy Tuesday, Colder with snow by late Wednesday

6:20 Am MST, Monday, January 3, 2021

The very cold air has let up, but it’s not too far away and will likely make a comeback by late Wednesday. Before then, some areas in and along the foothills may experience high winds, particularly on Tuesday. Although the wind could be accompanied by blowing snow, fire risk is thankfully at a minimum due to that snow.

Wind: High wind along the Front Range moves in from above as the higher wind aloft gets deflected to the surface. That’s why it can be so sporadic and vary greatly over short distances. Tuesday appears to present the best chance for wind making it down to the surface, with some risk for the higher foothills persisting into Wednesday.

Cold and snow: The first cold front late Tuesday will probably only make it a bit colder in the lower foothills and plains, and probably won’t bring snow. That cold air may erode away on Wednesday before a stronger cold front (similar to the one on New Years Eve) arrives late Wednesday. Snow is likely to spread from north to south along the Front Range Wednesday and dissipate early Thursday. Still not sure on the amounts, but there is potential for 3-6 inches of fluffy snow.

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.