A storm system will move across the Rockies today, bringing another shot of snow to the Colorado mountains during the daytime hours, with Eastern Colorado getting a round of snowfall tonight. While this will not be as big of a snowfall producer for the high country as last Friday’s storm, we will see some quick bursts of heavier snow along with gusty winds as a cold front races across the state, which will impact road and travel conditions for the end of the holiday weekend.
The Denver metro area (southern areas most favored) down to the Palmer Divide will also get in on the action tonight as the system moves east of the Continental Divide.
This morning’s infrared satellite image shows this low pressure system located over Utah and racing toward Colorado (image source: College of DuPage).
The short-range HRRR model projects snow to fill in across the western and central mountains of Colorado by around midday today (image source: weathermodels.com).
The heaviest snowfall across the high country is likely during the afternoon hours, though lighter snow showers will linger through the overnight period as well across northern and central Colorado. Snowfall amounts of 6″ or greater will be possible across the higher elevations and mountain passes.
Lesser amounts are expected across most of the mountain towns and valleys across ski country, but cold temperatures arriving with the cold front will allow snow to easily accumulate on pavement, and strong winds today and tonight will result in areas of blowing and drifting snow.
In general, the highest snowfall amounts are expected across the central and northern mountains.
Tonight, the system will swing into Eastern Colorado and a strong cold front will move across the plains and I-25 corridor, leading to a quick drop in temperatures with snow projected to fill in by late this evening, per the 12z run of the HRRR model (image source: weathermodels.com).
The exact track of the low pressure system is still in question, even this close to the event, which makes the Front Range snowfall forecast a bit more tricky. Most of the models are projecting a minor snowfall event across the I-25 corridor, with northerly winds favoring southern Denver metro southward to the Palmer Divide. On the other hand, the northerly winds will be much less favorable from downtown Denver north to Ft. Collins, as these areas will be experiencing a drier downsloping effect.
If the low pressure center were to track farther south than projected, then the potential for higher snowfall totals would exist. But as it stands now, the Palmer Divide region will have the best chance of seeing meaningful snow amounts, as will the far northeast plains of Colorado where blizzard-like conditions will even be possible given the strong winds forecasted.
Temperatures will quickly fall into the 20s tonight behind the cold front, so snow that does fall across the I-25 corridor will accumulate on road surfaces and could lead to a slick morning commute on Tuesday, especially in Douglas and Northern El Paso Counties, and into southern/central Denver metro as well.
Lingering snow should quickly taper off during the morning hours Tuesday before drying out Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures will remain chilly on Tuesday, though, with continued breezy northerly winds.