Denver could get 15 inches of snow, the most in years

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A major, long-duration storm is developing near the Rockies and is set to dump large amounts of snow in Denver and the foothills and mountains to its west.
And the sprawling storm will affect not only Colorado: Winter weather alerts for snow stretch from the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico to southern Montana.
But the heaviest amounts are forecast in the mountains of Colorado, where some locations could see 4 feet.
Winter storm warnings are in effect in Denver and Boulder, where double-digit totals are predicted, and perhaps the most snow from a single storm since 2021.
Rain developing Wednesday is predicted to turn to snow by nightfall and then become heavy.
The National Weather Service office serving the Denver-Boulder area expects a wet snow that could damage trees and power lines.
The office also warned of “difficult to nearly impossible travel” in Boulder, Denver’s western suburbs and other Front Range communities through Thursday night.
AdvertisementThe most significant impacts are expected in a zone from near Boulder to west of Colorado Springs.
There, the Weather Service anticipates “extreme” Level 5 out of 5 impacts, including dangerous travel; widespread closings of roads, schools and businesses; and a threat of power outages.
The storm system is expected to unleash strong winds from eastern New Mexico to western Oklahoma, generating a dangerous fire threat.
Farther to the east and northeast, it is forecast to fuel severe thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes, first from eastern Kansas to northern Missouri, including the Kansas City area on Wednesday.
That threat will spread over a larger section of the Midwest on Thursday, spanning from Dallas to just south of Chicago.
The storm is organizing in the lee of the Rocky Mountains as the jet stream takes a sharp dip over the Intermountain West.
As the storm strengthens, it will draw an abundance of moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
AdvertisementThis surge of moisture is a critical ingredient in the snowfall forecast.
Projections suggest that atmospheric moisture levels could be more than double the norm.
How much snow is predictedThe Weather Service is forecasting 8 to 15 inches for Denver itself, and up to 20 inches in its western suburbs.
In the mountains, a widespread 18 to 36 inches is anticipated, with peak amounts near 4 feet.
Snowfall rates of up to 2 to 3 inches per hour are likely in the Front Range, according to the Weather Service.
Here are some forecasts for specific locations:Share this article ShareBoulder: The forecast for the city 30 miles northwest of Denver calls for 12 to 22 inches and the potential for thundersnow Wednesday night.
Denver: The Mile High City is potentially looking at its biggest snowfall since 27.1 inches fell in March 2021 .
In addition to about a foot of accumulation, the forecast calls for the possibility of thundersnow and for gusts of 30 mph causing blowing and drifting.
Evergreen: This Front Range town less than 40 miles southwest of Denver could see a foot or more Wednesday night, another foot Thursday and some more thereafter.
Temperatures fall into the 20s, with winds gusting to around 30 mph.
Cheyenne, Wyo.
: Just across the border from Colorado, and about 100 miles north of Denver, Cheyenne sits near the edge of an area of predicted heavy snow.
The forecast is for 4 to 8 inches and wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph.
Colorado Springs: About an hour south of Denver on Interstate 25, Colorado Springs is also on the edge of more-substantial snow potential.
It’s predicted to receive 6 to 12 inches.
Snow should wind down from north to south as the storm moves away between late Thursday and midday Friday.
Forecast challengesSnowstorm predictions are typically challenging, and this storm is no different.
Three factors, in particular, make this forecast difficult:AdvertisementUncertainty as to when the rain will change to snow: If the changeover is slower than forecast, this could lower amounts, especially in lower-elevation areas like Denver.
Where heavy areas of snow start and stop: Snow amounts are forecast to vary widely from west to east, with totals that peak in the high elevations and drop off into the high plains east of Denver.
Where the drop-off occurs and where particularly heavy bands of snow concentrate are difficult to predict.
An unusual setup: The Weather Service office in Boulder said in a discussion that the track of this storm is “typically not favorable for a big snowstorm” but that other factors — such as the large amount of moisture available — should compensate for the less-than-ideal track.
Despite uncertainties, the Weather Service concluded, “confidence is high for a major winter storm in/near the Front Range mountains and foothills.”It’s prime time for heavy snowUnlike in many places, late winter and early spring is prime time for snow in much of the Rockies and High Plains.
Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska, recently shared the image above on X, showing where M

A significant, protracted storm is moving toward the Rockies and is expected to drop a lot of snow in Denver and the foothills and mountains to its west. And the massive storm won’t just impact Colorado; winter weather advisories for snowfall extend to southern Montana and the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. The Colorado mountains, however, are expected to receive the highest amounts; some places could receive up to 4 feet.

With double-digit totals expected and possibly the most snow from a single storm since 2021, winter storm warnings are in effect in Denver and Boulder. It is expected that Wednesday’s rain will turn to snow by dusk and get heavy.

The Denver, Boulder area office of the National Weather Service anticipates a wet snowfall that may cause damage to trees and power lines. The office issued a warning through Thursday night regarding “difficult to nearly impossible travel” in Boulder, the western suburbs of Denver, and other Front Range communities.

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The area west of Colorado Springs and close to Boulder is predicted to see the biggest effects. There, dangerous travel, widespread closures of roads, businesses, and schools, and the possibility of power outages are among the “extreme” Level 5 out of 5 impacts that the Weather Service predicts.

It is anticipated that the storm system will unleash powerful winds that could pose a serious fire hazard from eastern New Mexico to western Oklahoma. It is predicted to fuel severe thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes further east and northeast, first from eastern Kansas to northern Missouri, including the Kansas City area on Wednesday. From Dallas to a region just south of Chicago, a wider region of the Midwest will be affected by that threat on Thursday.

As the jet stream dips sharply over the Intermountain West, the storm is organizing in the lee of the Rocky Mountains. An abundance of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will be drawn northward by the storm as it intensifies.

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An essential component of the snowfall forecast is this spike in moisture. Forecasts indicate that atmospheric moisture content may exceed the average by more than twice.

the amount of snow that is expected.

Eight to fifteen inches are expected in Denver proper, and up to twenty inches in the suburbs to the west, according to the Weather Service. Peak amounts in the mountains are expected to be close to 4 feet, with a distribution of 18 to 36 inches. The Weather Service predicts that snowfall in the Front Range could reach rates of up to two to three inches per hour. The following are some forecasts for particular locations:.

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Boulder: 12 to 22 inches are expected, with the possibility of thundersnow on Wednesday night, in this city 30 miles northwest of Denver.

Denver: The Mile High City may see its highest snowfall since 27.11 inches fell in March 2021. In addition to the estimated foot of accumulation, thundersnow is possible, and gusts of up to 30 mph are predicted to cause blowing and drifting.

Evergreen: This Front Range town, located less than 40 miles southwest of Denver, may experience precipitation as much as one foot on Wednesday night, one more foot on Thursday, and more onward. The wind speed can reach up to thirty miles per hour, and the temperature drops into the 20s.

Wyoming, Cheyenne. Cheyenne is located 100 miles north of Denver and just across the Colorado border. It is close to the edge of an area where significant snowfall is expected. Four to eight inches and 35 to 45 mph wind gusts are predicted.

Colorado Springs: Located approximately one hour south of Denver via Interstate 25, Colorado Springs is also bordering on areas with more significant snowfall potential. It is expected to get between six and twelve inches.

Between late Thursday and midday on Friday, snow should start to move southward as the storm moves away.

Foresee difficulties.

Like most storms, this one is hard to predict in advance of snow. This prediction is challenging due to three factors in particular:.

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Uncertainty about when the rain will turn into snow: If the transition happens later than expected, this could result in less snowfall overall, particularly in places with lower elevations like Denver.

Where heavy snowfall starts and stops: The amount of snowfall is expected to vary greatly from west to east, peaking in the highlands and descending into the high plains east of Denver. the location of the drop-off and the unpredictable locations of especially dense bands of concentrated snow.

An unusual setup: During a discussion, the Boulder Weather Service office stated that while the storm’s track is “typically not favorable for a big snowstorm,” other factors, like the substantial amount of moisture available, should make up for it.

“Confidence is high for a major winter storm in/near the Front Range mountains and foothills,” the Weather Service stated, despite the uncertainties. “.

Perfect conditions for a lot of snow.

Much of the Rockies and High Plains see their best snowfall in late winter and early spring, unlike many other places.

A climatologist from Alaska named Brian Brettschneider recently posted the map above on X, indicating the locations where March is the snowiest month overall. In regions shaded in pink, where March is either the snowiest or second-snowiest month, are many of the locations that are under threat from this storm.

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