Tuesday Update: Light Snow Continues, Bitter Cold Wednesday

What a difference a day makes, or in yesterday’s case -- just 20 minutes. After a wild entrance, the cold air is firmly entrenched today, and will only get colder on Wednesday. Here’s a look at where actual temperatures were at 7am this morning, with wind chill readings in the double digits below 0 across Wyoming and Montana.

Snow totals
As expected, snow totals were mostly unimpressive with yesterday’s frontal passage -- the bigger story was the cold. Denver managed somewhere around a trace to ½” of snow, with a few of the southwest suburbs reporting nearly 2” in snow. Not a lot, but generally within our forecast range, and a bit more possible today. A few locations did even better, with 3” being reported in the Boulder area, and 5.6” reported in Eldorado Springs, with a 31:1 snow-liquid ratio!

Incredibly, Denver International Airport did not manage the 0.1” of snow needed to close the Weather5280 Snowfall Prediction Contest on Monday, which means the contest remains open. Decent chance that changes over the next 24 hours, and if it does, we’ll announce this year’s winners as soon as it does!

Snow likely Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday
Snow shower activity has redeveloped along the northern Front Range today, and will continue off and on through Wednesday. This round of snow may bring a bit more accumulation to spots that saw just a dusting Monday, but overall accumulation will be light. The best chance for snow in Denver will likely be overnight Tuesday into Wednesday as a reinforcing shot of cold air pushes through. Totals will generally be from 0.5” to 2”, with a few locations possibly sneaking out 3”+. The greatest chance for higher snow totals will likely be along and west of I-25. 18z models start coming in soon and we'll be watching to see if they support more or less QPF, latest SREF may suggest lower end QPF, which would limit snowfall over next 24 hours. We will have an updated the snowfall forecast map this afternoon which will bring us through Wednesday evening, and likely published a quick post on the Live Blog when we do.

Temperatures
Wednesday looks to be the coldest day of the week, and quite possibly the year, when highs may struggle to make it out of the single digits across the Denver metro area. The record low max for the date is 9℉ set in 1916, which is likely to be challenged tomorrow. Overnight lows Wednesday into Thursday will likely drop below zero with snow ending.

Here’s a look at today’s 12z GFS 2 meter maximum temperature forecast for 00z Thursday (or 5pm Wednesday). Single digit temperatures up and down the urban corridor!

Weekend
There’s been a lot of chatter about the coming weekend and yet another chance for snow. We’re keeping a close eye on things but will probably get through this next batch of snow before fully addressing too closely. It does appear there will be another decent cold front that will push across northeast Colorado during the day Saturday with upslope developing behind it. While over the last week or so this really has looked like our best chance for accumulating snow this week in Denver, there are questions regarding setup here. For now will keep a chance of snow in the forecast Saturday and Saturday night, with another blast of cold air. Much more on this to come…

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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