Forecast calls for unsettled week of weather, challenging roads across Colorado
The week may have started off with springlike temperatures on Monday morning, April 24, but local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth is warning residents that unsettled weather and snow will arrive in Colorado for the next few days.
“We got a pretty strong cold front coming on through,” said Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website, SnowAlarm.com. “The Front Range is going to get hammered more than we will, but we should do pretty well out of it too.”
He said this week’s weather will come in two waves. The first will be warmer, bringing a mix of rain and snow to the area that’s expected to start Monday evening. Weissbluth said residents should expect light precipitation at lower elevations and possibly several inches at higher elevations.
As the cold front moves through, the higher peaks surrounding Steamboat could get between 5 and 10 inches as part of a second wave that will move through the area on Tuesday morning, April 25.
Weissbluth said that once the cold front moves though, it could create a low-pressure eddy in the Four Corners region that will bring heavy snowfall to the Front Range and foothills Tuesday into Wednesday, April 26.
“That’s always a nice recipe for heavy precipitation along the Front Range,” Weissbluth said.
It’s a recipe that has prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to issue a winter travel alert letting drivers know that the strong spring storm is expected to bring up to 20 inches of snow to some areas in the High Country.
CDOT said the bulk of the storm is anticipated to hit Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning, and travelers should be prepared for rain, snow and high winds across most of the state Tuesday and Wednesday with difficult driving conditions in the mountains.
The Palmer Divide — the area on Interstate 25 between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs — is anticipated to be affected Tuesday evening. There is potential for a flash freeze Wednesday morning across I-25 in Denver, and forecasters expect bursts of heavy snow across the Denver-Fort Collins corridor and northeast plains.
“We’re not going to do well out of the upslope, but we’re going do well when the cold front passes ahead of that,” Weissbluth said. “It does look like moisture is going to be drawn from the Gulf of Mexico, which is obviously a very rich moisture source that’s going to be contributing to their heavy precipitation, but it doesn’t look like that moisture will get us. Still, the front end of the storm is what’s going give us the precipitation in this area.”
He said residents in Steamboat Springs should expect rain, snow and much cooler temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“This is really going to be over for the most part by Wednesday morning for us, while it’s still going to be going on in the Front Range,” Weissbluth said.
He stressed that the storm will make a trip to Denver difficult Tuesday afternoon, as not only Rabbit Ears Pass but the Interstate 70 and I-25 corridors will be affected by periods of moderate to heavy precipitation.
Weissbluth said he expects a break in the weather from late Wednesday into Thursday before another storm brings another round of unseasonably cold air and snow to the area around Friday, though things should clear out for the weekend.
“The weather forecast models do have a ridge of high pressure building over us for the weekend,” Weissbluth said. “So, it does look like we will get a nice bout of spring weather starting around the weekend.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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