(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — All signs were pointing to a large snowstorm with big accumulations for parts of Southern Colorado, but it played out differently than many expected once the storm moved into the region.

What Changed Our Forecast:

The first problem limiting our snow totals was how warm surfaces and road temperatures were, as the first bands of snow moved in on Tuesday night, Jan 17. Rather than seeing quick accumulations, the snow melted upon contact.

The second problem was drier air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere. As the storm moved in, so did the dry air, and it dried our moisture out quicker than expected. This dry slot cut off the moist air and falling snow as a result.

As you can see below on the radar loop, the yellow, which represents dry air, took over the blues, indicating where cloud cover and snow were.

Water Vapor loop from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, Jan. 17 – Jan. 18.

Why Ranges Matter:

From our original forecast, the biggest totals were expected through the northern parts of the Pikes Peak region towards Denver, and west over the mountains.

Going into this storm below is a closer look at what models were showing. This screen grab from the National Weather Service in Boulder, which showed Denver into the NE plains, forecasted for 8-16″ of snow on the high end. Yet on the low end, 8-12” was what their office expected.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday morning, Jan. 18, DIA recorded 8.6″ of snow. Yet, NWS meteorologists went with the range 8-13″ on the high side for parts of the metro as more snow showers are expected through the early evening.

With the possibility of heavy snow bands, forecasters give extra wiggle room to account for any additional snow we may pick up. Especially in a 24-hour event with dynamic features, and to account for more snow, you may see in your neighborhood, to try and limit a big surprise.

For the FOX21 Storm Team, our original forecast was scaled back a bit for the Denver metro, I-70, and the northeast plains areas. We did have large ranges over the Pikes Peak region, because of the chance of heavy snow band development.

Although our snow ranges were wide, we still hit the low end of what we expected. Check out snow totals from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning.

Stay with the FOX21 Storm Team for the latest updates on air and on our app (Download it on Apple or Google Play) for detailed updates on where you are.

This was a very moisture-rich storm, so the snow that fell was heavy, wet, and compacted quite a bit. If you didn’t score big with this snowstorm, don’t worry because we still have plenty of time for more this season. A few storms are already on the way for the rest of the week into next.