Monday PM Update: Here Comes the Cold and Snow

Middle of the road snowfall forecast
Quick update this evening on the big chill headed for Colorado. Forecast remains on track as colder air is already started to push into the state at this hour. While temperatures climbed to just above freezing this afternoon they have now dropped into the 20s across the region and won't be back above freezing until late next weekend, or early next week, in all likelihood.

As for the snow, take a look at this map from the National Weather Service (right). Denver is surrounded by Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories, but not currently included. This is because the heaviest snowfall is expected to fall just about everywhere except along the immediate urban corridor at this time. While we do think the likelihood of snow in Denver over the next 24 hours is quite good, it's worth reiterating much of the best moisture will be south of the forecast area.

At this time, expecting snowfall to be on the increase overnight Monday and to continue off and on throughout the day Tuesday. Despite some models coming in with higher snow totals over the last 24 hours, we will keep most of the urban corridor in the 1 to 4 inch range (a bit higher on the west side) with a Bust Index of 4. We expect that as is typical with these types of systems the models may in fact be overdone. Bitter arctic cold and heavy snow don't usually go hand-in-hand for the Denver area.

At the same rate, we will continue to monitor for the potential of higher accumulations with this system. It'll be hard to get a gauge on that until things get underway across the state, and the amount of moisture left by the time the stronger cold front arrives late Tuesday -- this is where that added "bullish" snowfall will come from if it maintains strength and timing. If some of these models are correct in that we have slightly more QPF to work with AND factoring in the very high snow ratios, a few locales could in fact see a very fluffy snowfall higher than currently forecast.

Timing
All the snow won't come at once. Expect a bit tonight, and a bit more tomorrow through tomorrow night before we reach our totals for this initial blast of snow. Slick roads are possible for commuters throughout the day Tuesday. Latest computer models actually suggest the best shot at snowfall accumulation in Denver may not come until later in the day Tuesday. Still monitoring another chance for snow later in the week, but as we said this morning, probabilities remain low with that system.

Plunging Temperatures
It is certain that it will be COLD. We have lowered expected highs for both Wednesday and Thursday as there's a very good likelihood we don't manage to get out of the single digits for highs in many locations. Combine that with an ongoing chance for light snow and flurries, and we have ourselves a real wintery week ahead!

All for now! Subscribe for all the latest updates as we continue to track snow and cold across Colorado.

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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