March will start off with a bang for the Colorado High Country as a strong storm system will produce heavy snow for most of the Colorado Rockies this weekend favoring the Central Rockies and Northern Rockies. Strong westerly flow aloft, combined with an atmospheric river of moisture will push into western Colorado today and through most of the weekend. Snowfall will be heavy and create treacherous driving conditions in the Colorado High Country, especially on mountain passes where white out conditions will be possible due to heavy snow and gusty winds. The national weather service has predicted upwards of a foot of snow in Vail and Frasier over the next two days with Aspen, Fairplay, Kremmling, Walden, Estes Park and Boulder receiving between 6-9″ through 5pm Sunday. Any areas above Vail in elevation, and western facing slopes could see much higher isolated amounts from this storm system with areas getting up to two feet of snow! Here is the probability forecast for 4″ or more:
Not only is there a very good chance for more than 4″ for most of the Colorado High Country, Ft. Collins has a 100% chance of seeing 4″ by 5pm Sunday, Boulder 94%, Denver 79%, Castle Rock 66% and Colorado Springs at 48%. Based on this probability map, there is a clear visual that this storm system will favor northern Colorado as opposed to a usual Palmer Divide, upslope driven storm that we have experienced most often here in Denver. As for the probability of seeing a foot of snow, here is NWS 12″ or greater outlook through Sunday at 5pm:
Vail is by far the big winner for chances of seeing a foot of snow at 76% with the Central Rockies and western facing slopes to the north and southwest having a decent chance of seeing at least a foot of snow.
If traveling this weekend into the Colorado High Country, be prepared for hazardous driving conditions!