Thursday, March 6th 2014
If you saw the thick clouds over the Front Range today, then you've already noticed the first few signs that the weather is changing. Despite the warm temperatures, the clouds marked a change on the way.
These clouds are the leading line of the next winter storm. Right now over Utah and Idaho, the system has a good amount of Pacific moisture to push over Colorado to end the week.Friday morning drive to be easier easier than the afternoon
The storm will push over the greater metro area early Friday, lasting through the evening. There will be some minor impact to the morning commute, but a bigger impact to afternoon and evening drivers. The chance of rain and snow will increase by midday, remaining through the evening, and tapering off into Saturday morning.
Like the past couple of systems to visit the Front Range, you can expect a temperature drop with rain and snow -- and highs will be in the upper 30s and lower 40s.
Any snowfall accumulation is subject to rapid melting. Grassy areas in some locations will have a few inches by evening, and there will be some roads that have a slushy mess by the evening commute.
We expect the snow to continue into the early morning hours of Saturday. It's the snow during the overnight hours Friday that will have the best chance to accumulate. With slowly dropping temperatures, the change from rain and snow to all snow will likely happen in the afternoon, and the system will turn to all snow overnight Friday into Saturday morning.
The amount of snow we receive will depend on the time of day that the rain and snow changes over to only snow. This event is very determined by elevation. Assume a slightly earlier changeover and the ECM (first image) will likely pan out with some good totals for the western and southern Denver metro area in elevations above 5,500 ft. If the changeover occurs later, as in the RPM (second image), the accumulation will be less in Denver and higher for elevations above 8,000 ft.Skiers and riders will have new snow this weekend
The mountains will begin to see snowfall from the late this evening through the day Friday. Winter weather advisories in the central and western mountains call for 6 to 12 inches of snow by early Saturday morning. Travel will become more hazardous Friday through early Saturday.
Another impact will be the wind, especially in the high country, with gusts of 35 mph and higher. The wind may also increase for the foothills near the Front Range overnight as the system draws closer. This will create areas of blowing snow and reduced visibility.
We'll be tracking that changeover for you throughout the day Friday
, and keep you up to date with any further developments as this storm gets underway.
Sunshine returns quickly Saturday to melt off any snow that does stick!
Thursday, March 6th 2014
Soggy Friday | GFS | WeatherBell
The next system we've been tracking for well over a week now is due to arrive early Friday across northeast Colorado. Models continue to struggle with just how cold this system will be, but given a variety of factors, we estimate that tomorrow will see only a little snow, with most precipitation coming in the form of rain and a rain and snow mix.
The GFS has simply just been too warm for snow, with temperatures through the day Friday hovering at and above 40 degrees. The EURO, while colder, has similar issues. With the brunt of the precipitation expected during daylight hours, there is little reason to expect temperatures to cool more than models would suggest. And if the rain does change to snow, it will have a difficult time sticking during daylight hours.
The caveat here is timing. Should this system slow a little and allow more precipitation after sunset Friday, we'll need to watch for the possibility of a few locales getting better snow. Additionally, should any snowfall coincide with some possible convection Friday evening, a few places stand a chance for rapid (but short-lived) accumulation.
For now we will hold off on issuing any snowfall forecast for lower elevations (advisories are already out for points west). We're looking forward to what the next few rounds of modeling will try to do with this system as it nears.
In any case, you can expect Friday to be much colder across the region after highs near 70 degrees on Thursday in Denver. We'll keep tabs on this approaching storm, and offer updates as necessary. If need be, we'll fire up the Live Blog
tonight to track any changes to the going forecast.
Wednesday, March 5th 2014
Last night's snow was probably not as much as some would have hoped for, and likely more than others had hoped for, but it was a pretty good, quick-hitting system nonetheless.
Highs Tuesday peaked in the lower 60s across the metro area (64 degrees downtown, and 61 degrees officially at DIA). Within seven hours of those highs we had rain changing to heavy snow, bringing accumulating snowfall up and down the Front Range Tuesday night.
Totals ranged from about 1 to 6 inches, depending on when the rain changed to snow and how warm surfaces were at the onset. Central Denver received about 2 to 3 inches of snow. This was well within our forecast range (2 - 6" for DEN, with a BI of 7), but on the lower end for many. Important to note, that while these were the recorded totals, a lot of melting has already taken place -- almost as fast as it fell given the warm ground temperatures.
Today temperatures rebound nicely. We'll see highs in the mid 40s to near 50 degrees for most locales, with mostly sunny skies.
NWS spotter reports as of 7am March 5:
7.1" 4 miles NE Ward
4.8" Bergen Park
4.2" 1 mile SSE Evergreen
3.0" Federal Heights
2.5" Baker, Denver
Last night the snow fell hard at times. Here are a few clips (B-Roll!) from around Denver last night.
Tuesday, March 4th 2014
Tricky forecast means both boom and bust potential high for Front Range
Ah yes, welcome to March along Colorado's Front Range, where the storm track is active, the bust potential is high, available moisture is higher, and one storm can dump a month's worth of snow in a matter of hours.
As we discussed last night
, the first of two weather makers this week will be upon us Tuesday evening. This system is tricky, for a number of reasons, especially because marginal temperatures for snow mean the difference of virtually no accumulation and moderate accumulation.
The GFS and Euro have been juicy with this system for several days now, and it appears as other models are coming around to this as well. With plentiful moisture, the key to this forecast will be how fast we change to snow, and whether or not snowfall rates are high enough to overcome warm ground temperatures.
As as a cold front moves through Tuesday evening, winds will quickly shift to the north, temperatures will drop, and showers may pop up as early as 7pm; as strong evaporative cooling kicks in, rain is is liable to transition, perhaps quickly, to wet snow by mid-to-late evening. The amount of snow on the ground by morning will depend upon how much rain you receive before the snow develops, and your elevation.
Subject to how quickly the snow melts upon falling, neighborhoods west and south of the Denver metro area may see 3-6"+, with a few inches possible in the Denver area, and less to the north; again this will likely start as rain and then become a mix through the evening with all snow through the early morning hours. The timing is going to put the heaviest activity from 6pm to midnight.
Similar to the system that hit the southern metro a couple weeks ago, this system may roll through with lightning and thunder; if you see or hear that, expect the intensity of the showers to be strong. In a similar fashion to that former system, we do expect the best snowfall to again be to the south of Denver, Douglas County, and in the valleys/canyons of Boulder and Jefferson County.
Also, snow will increase over the central and northern mountains this afternoon and evening. A winter weather advisory has been posted for the Elkhead and Park Mountains, the Flattops and the mountains of southern Wyoming. Five to ten inches of snow are expected in the advised areas.
We'll continue to update you through the evening, and for all the latest stay with us on Twitter
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