Friday AM update: snow showers on the increase through this afternoon

Not too much change to discuss this morning from our update yesterday. Still tracking the chance of rain and show across Eastern Colorado from about midday today through Saturday evening. We are also still dealing with a huge amount of inconsistency in the data, so plenty of surprises are still possible with this one I suppose.

Overall, the numbers we discussed in yesterday's post still look good. For most of us, this does not look like a huge snow event. However, with any accumulation we do see today/tonight, the wind tomorrow could cause some issues on the roadways as well with poor visibility and icy conditions likely across much of Eastern Colorado. Rain, drizzle, freezing drizzle, and snow will all be possible across Eastern Colorado over the next 36 hours or so.

Our gamblers have not changed much. Still looking like most cities along the Front Range will fall into the Trace - 4" range –– Trace if you get missed altogether, and a 4" high-end if you end up under a round of heavier snow showers today or tomorrow. Confidences for a few inches of snow is still greatest along the Palmer, but as you can see pretty equal chances for low-end Trace to 2" totals up and down the I-25 corridor:

As for heavier snow totals across the Eastern Plains... it still looks like a possibility, but widespread 3 - 8" does not look all that probable. We expect a swath of heavier snow somewhere out east, but whether that lines up over Limon, or Sterling, or somewhere north or south of both these cities is a bit of a crapshoot.

For a broad-brushed look at potential, see the map below. However, we don't think think totals will be this uniform –– as we'll see lots of variation within this area where the general best chance of snow will be. Still, a couple inches possible for the Denver metro area, perhaps a bit more across the Palmer, a Trace to 3 or 4" for Colorado Springs, then hit-and-miss 4 - 6" totals across the Northeast Plains looks like a good bet.

  • Fort Collins: 0 - 2"
  • Boulder: Trace - 3"
  • Denver: Trace - 4"
  • Castle Rock: 2 -5"
  • Colorado Springs: Trace - 4"
  • Limon: 3 - 8"
  • Sterling: 3 - 8"

We think totals over the next 36 hour or so will end up somewhere in the range below:

Low-end snowfall potential today through Sat night:

High-end snowfall potential today through Sat night:

And quickly, a look at the larger picture shows the heaviest snowfall overall expected across Southwest Colorado from this storm, then again up across the High Plains of Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota where Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories are in place for a big weekend snow:

Timing and impacts
Rain and show showers will push across Eastern Colorado from midday today through this evening, with more snow showers possible through the day Saturday. Today's heaviest snowfall activity may end up south/east of Denver, but we'll go with a 40 to 50% chance of snow from mid afternoon through tonight for Denver as a snow shower or two could move through and drop a quick accumulation in spots.

As you can see in the hourly below, the snow chances continue through Saturday evening before tapering off, with gusty winds in the forecast tomorrow as well which will make for a raw day across Northeast Colorado:

The latest HRRR model shows the increase of snow showers across the state midday today through 10pm tonight. It has the heaviest activity east of the urban corridor, but some snow showers could move through the cities as well:

Again, snow won't be a constant through tomorrow, but the chance of snow will be. Look for off and on snow showers across Eastern Colorado today through Saturday which will equate to difficult travel at times. Saturday we'll mix more wind into the equation, which will add to the travel difficulties, especially east of I-25.

Highs will be near or below freezing through the weekend before temperatures moderate a bit by Monday. The next system to swing through looks to come around New Year's Day.

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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