Hundreds of homes lost as devastating fires continue; snow and cold arrive tomorrow and not a moment too soon

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All High Wind Warnings have finally been dropped after a day featuring hour after hour of relentless wind and gusts to 100 mph along the Front Range. Still, gusty winds continue along the Front Range and urban corridor, and will do so through the middle of the night before dying down toward morning.

A look at wind reports from NCAR shows gusts have dropped off from 90 mph in the 40 mph range, with sustained winds subsiding as well. We are headed in the right direction, but several more difficult hours of fire-fighting ahead before meaningful help arrives from the weather.

Latest reports indicate at least 600 homes have been lost in today's fires, with perhaps much more than that by some estimates. Today's fires will become the state's most destructive on record, surpassing the Black Forest Fire in 2013 (509 homes lost). We won't have a clear picture on the extent of the properties lost and damages for some time as the scene across northwest Denver tonight remains chaotic and quickly changing. Just an absolutely stunning day.

Here is the latest evacuation and pre-evacuation map from the Boulder OEM, which will be updating through the night:

We will touch on the latest snowfall outlook here tonight, but in case you missed it some other relevant articles to today's fires and tomorrows storm below.

The backdrop to today's event, and extremely dry second half of 2021:  

July through mid December 2021 hottest and driest on record for the period in Denver
No, it’s not just you. The last six months have been exceptionally warm and dry across the Front Range and Denver metro area. At Denver International Airport we’ve only managed 1.07″ of precipitation since July first. One inch! The next driest July - December 17th period on record was in 1939, a…

Latest updates from the fires:

Town of Superior, Colorado evacuated as fast moving fire wreaks havoc across Northwest Denver suburbs
*** This post will be updated through the afternoon. *** Multiple fires are burning outside of Boulder, Colorado putting homes and lives at risk. Highways, including U.S. 36 are closed, and evacuation orders are in place for Superior, Colorado, which has a population of roughly 13,000 people, and L…

And latest forecast discussion from earlier today:

Winter weather alerts posted for Friday as extreme wind and fire event unfolds across Denver metro
The upcoming chance of snow cannot arrive fast enough. Several metro area cities have been evacuated, as winds to 100 mph have pushed fires through Superior and Louisville this afternoon, and continues to burn out of control. We have been posting updates all afternoon, and as is always the case in t…

Bitter cold and snow
Bitter cold and snow to follow today's extreme wind and fire event. The latest hourly timeline shows precipitation chances increasing by late morning Friday, with the greatest potential for snow along the Front Range coming Friday afternoon and Friday night.

We will see how things look in the morning, but for now see now need to change much from our forecast earlier today.

  • Fort Collins: 2 - 6"
  • Boulder: 5 - 10"
  • Evergreen 5 - 10"
  • Denver: 2 - 6"
  • Castle Rock: 2 - 6"
  • Colorado Springs: 1 - 4"

We all anxiously await tomorrow's weather change. Tonight we hold everyone impacted by today's fires in our thoughts, and hope fire fighting efforts can make quick progress as the winds subside tonight.