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Storm Update: Some Adjustments to Snowfall Totals as System Approaches

We continue to track the chance of snow across most of eastern Colorado that moves in later this afternoon and lingers through Saturday morning. We’ve increased totals for those in some parts of the metro area and on the Palmer Divide.

A strong, negatively tilted trough will move through the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles late tonight, and brings with it wind, cold, and snow to much of the Eastern Plains of Colorado through Saturday.

A Winter Weather Advisory goes into effect at 4pm this afternoon for Northeast Colorado, and continues through 8am Saturday.

Position of 500mb low Saturday morning

As we've discussed all week, the main energy has been forecast to be too far south for much of the northern urban corridor to see big snowfall totals with this system. However, we have been closely watching any trends to move any of that heavier moisture north/west (it wouldn't take much of a big shift at all), and today we see some signs of this. This is a fairly typical ramp up we see from models with negatively tilted troughs moving through this area. While we will up totals for the Denver area and points south/southeast, we'll cut back totals a bit north and northwest of the metro area.

For the Palmer Divide, Southeast Denver suburbs, and portions of the Eastern Plains, we could very well see some heavy snowfall from this storm if trends continue. You'll see in our forecast below we are upping totals for these areas, as well as stressing the WIND we'll likely see across the area by Saturday morning. Travel will be difficult across eastern Colorado this evening through Saturday morning.

We are continuing with 0 - 3" for areas north of Denver at this time, but increase snowfall for areas from Denver to the south and east. The data spread on snowfall over SE Denver and the Palmer Divide is about 10”, ranging from 2” on the low end to 12” on the high end. Mean totals in this spread are near 6”. You can see the most likely ranges reflected in our Gambler Charts below:

And below is our updated snowfall forecast map:

Latest snowfall forecast through Saturday

Timing
The latest HRRR shows snow moving into the northern urban corridor by mid to late afternoon. We see some heavier snow showers push off the mountains across Denver and the northern urban corridor in the 4pm to 8pm timeframe...

Eventually focusing south across Denver, the Southern suburbs Palmer Divide and Colorado Springs area late tonight:

There are likely to be pockets of heavy snow at times this evening, with a strong northerly wind developing tonight as well. If you can avoid travel across eastern Colorado over the next 12 hours, please do. The window for best snowfall across the urban corridor looks to come between 5pm this evening and 4am Saturday, before the snow and worst conditions gradually work east Saturday.

A lot to watch over the next 12 hours or so... be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and of course leave comments below as to the conditions you see at your place from this storm!

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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