Thursday Morning Update: Winter Storm Warning

The National Weather Service in Boulder has upgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning for Denver. It goes into effect at 5pm Thursday, and continues through 6am Friday.

Taken at face value, the models would suggest we may actually be underdone with snow totals at this time. While 5 to 10 inches seems like the most probable scenario at this point for the greater Denver area, we caution that this is still a very tricky forecast. The Bust Index remains high-ish for the Denver area, but we have lowered it for the foothills and Front Range mountains.

We really do expect some locations could see MORE snow than advertised with this system, while others could very possibly bust low. It's all contingent on where the heaviest snow band eventually sets up, which as it stands this morning appears to be somewhere between Denver and Fort Collins. Should it set up a bit north of Denver, totals in the city will likely come in lower than forecast, should it set up over Denver, some neighborhoods could be looking at a foot of snow before this is all said and done.

The other factor we continue to monitor is downsloping winds limiting snowfall, especially over Denver. While the GFS/Euro are less inclined to indicate this outcome as a concern, some of the higher resolution models have a line of lighter snowfall immediately adjacent to the foothills. Should the NAM or SREF verify, a lot of folks will be wondering what all the fuss was about, though still decent snow totals would be expected.

While plenty of uncertainty remains, this no doubt is the best chance we have seen all season for significant accumulation in Denver. Please plan accordingly.

We will continue to monitor all the latest, and bring you updates as necessary throughout the rest of the day and tonight.

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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