Following on a day with record-setting high temperatures, the Mile High City is preparing for the opposite extreme as a winter storm approaches. A Winter Storm Warning has been posted and significant snowfall and bitter cold are expected to arrive Tuesday night.
Denver hit an official high temperature of 80 degrees yesterday at 2:27pm. This broke the old record for the date of 79 degrees last set in 1999. With the coming storm, that will quickly become a memory though.
The mountains will initially see a mix of rain and snow develop this afternoon and that will quickly change to all snow. Some areas in the northern and central mountains may see upwards of a foot of the white stuff, something sure to bring joy to skiers and ski areas.
- Keep an eye on the approaching storm with our live Denver weather page
Down along the Front Range, we may see a few light sprinkles in the afternoon but those are just a precursor to the main event. Rain will become widespread around 6:00pm and then gradually start changing to snow between 9:00pm and midnight.
The most significant snowfall is expected between midnight tonight and 6:00am Wednesday. Needless to say, it appears tomorrow morning’s rush hour commute will be a rough one. Snow will ease a bit during the daylight hours tomorrow but is expected to continue through much of the day.
The big question of course is how much snow? As is typical with early and late season storms, a lot is going to depend on the when the changeover from rain to snow occurs. The timing of the moisture and the cold are critical components.
Forecast models indicate much of the Front Range is looking at 6 to 12 inches from Denver to Fort Collins. Lower amounts will be seen in Weld County. The mountains, foothills, and Palmer Divide could receive up to 15 inches.
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In terms of temperatures, today we will be heading for a high of around 56 degrees with temperatures dropping quickly a bit before sunset. Overnight lows will drop to below the freezing mark. Wednesday’s temperature will struggle to even reach freezing and tomorrow night the mercury will plummet to the teens.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning from 9:00pm tonight through 6:00pm Wednesday.
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
349 AM MDT TUE OCT 25 2011
…EARLY SEASON WINTER STORM STILL HEADED FOR COLORADO…
.A POTENT UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM WILL MOVE TOWARD THE CENTRAL ROCKIES TODAY AND PUSH ACROSS COLORADO TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES OVER THE STATE…A COLD FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS NORTHEAST COLORADO THIS MORNING…WITH DEEPENING UPSLOPE WINDS DEVELOPING BEHIND THE FRONT.
AS A RESULT…A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW WILL FIRST DEVELOP IN THE HIGH COUNTRY ON THIS AFTERNOON…AND THEN SPREAD ACROSS THE PLAINS TONIGHT. AS COLD AIR CONTINUES MOVING INTO THE STATE…RAIN WILL CHANGE OVER TO SNOW AND MAY BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES LATE TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY.
SOME TREES ALONG THE FRONT RANGE URBAN CORRIDOR AND THE EASTERN PLAINS OF COLORADO HAVE NOT YET BECOME DORMANT AND STILL HAVE ABUNDANT FOLIAGE. AS HEAVY WET SNOW ACCUMULATES ON THESE TREES…BROKEN TREE LIMBS AND POWER OUTAGES WILL BE POSSIBLE.
SNOW AND SLUSH ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO ACCUMULATE ON ROAD SURFACES TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING CREATING HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.
THE STORM WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY MUCH COLDER TEMPERATURES WITH READINGS ONLY AROUND 30 ON WEDNESDAY ACROSS LOWER ELEVATIONS THEN DROPPING INTO THE TEENS BY WEDNESDAY NIGHT…WITH SINGLE DIGIT READINGS IN THE MOUNTAINS.
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MDT WEDNESDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DENVER HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MDT WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* TIMING…RAIN AND SNOW ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP BY LATE TUESDAY EVENING AND THEN CHANGE TO ALL SNOW BETWEEN 9 PM AND MIDNIGHT. LOCATIONS NEAR THE FOOTHILLS WILL CHANGE TO SNOW THE EARLIEST…WHILE LOCATIONS EAST OF DENVER WILL SEE THE RAIN CHANGING TO SNOW TOWARDS MIDNIGHT. SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH MUCH OF WEDNESDAY AND MAY BE HEAVY… ESPECIALLY WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* ACCUMULATION/WIND…TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE IN WELD COUNTY…WITH 6 TO 12 INCHES POSSIBLE FROM FORT COLLINS SOUTH THROUGH THE DENVER AREA. EVEN HIGHER AMOUNTS UP TO 15 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE NEAR THE FOOTHILLS AND SOUTH OF DENVER. SIGNIFICANT WINDS ARE NOT ANTICIPATED.
* MAIN IMPACT…HEAVY WET SNOW MAY ACCUMULATE ON TREES…RESULTING IN BROKEN TREE LIMBS AND POWER OUTAGES. ROADS WILL BECOME SLUSHY OR SNOW COVERED DURING PERIODS OF HEAVY SNOW.
* OTHER IMPACTS…TEMPERATURES WILL DROP SHARPLY WITH READINGS AROUND FREEZING DURING THE STORM…AND DROPPING INTO THE TEENS ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
REMEMBER…A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS HAZARDOUS WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE IMMINENT OR HIGHLY LIKELY. SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE OCCURRING OR EXPECTED. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.