“A major storm system will bring heavy snow to parts of the central Rockies and central High Plains Friday through Sunday,” warns the National Weather Service. “Strong winds will combine with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour to produce near blizzard conditions.”
The “significant” winter storm is forecast to impact the central Rockies and the central High Plains during the next couple of days. It will bring higher-elevation snows from the Sierra Nevada to the Four-Corners region today, before ingesting additional Gulf moisture and then dumping more heavy rain from the central Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley today into early Saturday.
As the weekend progresses, snowfall amounts of a couple of feet are quite possible along the Front Range of Colorado and Wyoming, while more than a foot is possible over the central High Plains.
In addition, increasingly strong and gusty winds are expected to accompany the heavy snow by Sunday as the storm system intensifies more rapidly. Widespread travel impacts are likely as strong winds combined with snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour could produce near blizzard conditions.
Winter Storm Watches and Warnings have been issued for the central Rockies to the central High Plains. Meanwhile, strong to severe thunderstorms are forecast to move across the southern Plains during the weekend ahead of a strong cold front associated with the intensifying low pressure system.
Hazardous weather outlook
A hazardous weather outlook has been issued for portions of panhandle Nebraska…western Nebraska…east central Wyoming…south central Wyoming and southeast Wyoming.
Less than an inch of new snowfall today, with some areas along and east of the I-25 corridor seeing light freezing drizzle or a rain/snow mix today and tonight.
However, Saturday through Monday look to be quite different.
Winter Storm Watches and Warnings have been issued through Monday morning for a storm expected to produce major to extreme impacts.
Possible record-breaking snowfall totals with whiteout conditions between Saturday afternoon through Monday morning. All cities within southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle should prepare for a major event, some areas across the central Panhandle may see more rain than snow, hence the Watch is still in place with uncertainty still in the forecast.
Spotters are encouraged to report snowfall totals to the National Weather Service in Cheyenne.
Travel may become nearly impossible late Saturday through much of Sunday
POWERFUL WINTER STORM ON TRACK FOR THIS WEEKEND – This hazardous weather outlook is for northeast and north central Colorado.
Today and Tonight
Scattered snow showers are expected this afternoon and tonight, mainly across the northern mountains where up to 2 inches of snow will be possible. Areas of drizzle will be possible in and near the Front Range Foothills this afternoon. As the temperatures get colder tonight, freezing drizzle will occur. Elevated surfaces, bridges, overpasses, and higher roads in the foothills and mountains may see a coat of ice late tonight. Expect very slick conditions where this occurs.
Saturday through Thursday
Snowfall amounts across the I-25 Urban Corridor will most likely reach 1 to 2 feet, with the foothills seeing 2 to 4 feet. The heaviest totals would favor Larimer County. Snowfall amounts will be lighter west of the Continental Divide, and also east of a Greeley to Limon line where temperatures will be warm enough for some rain. There is still moderate uncertainty with regard to these snow accumulations.
Travel across the urban corridor and foothills may become nearly impossible late Saturday through much of Sunday during the height of this storm. Road conditions will improve by Monday as the snow winds down, but some secondary roads may still be impassable due to the depth of snow.
There is growing confidence that yet another system will bring a chance for snow to the area late Tuesday into Wednesday.