Blizzard warnings continue from the Pikes Peak Region northward as an historically strong cyclone bombs out over eastern Colorado. Earlier this morning, the center of the storm passed over Lamar and set the all-time record for low pressure in Colorado at 970.4 millibars (28.73 in Mg).
A blizzard warning went into effect at 10am and coincided with quickly deteriorating conditions on the roads. As visibility dropped to zero in spots many roads closed between Colorado Springs and Denver and points east, including, but not limited to Interstate 25, Highway 94, Highway 24, Highway 86 and Interstate 70.
As the strong wind gusts continue and the heart of the storm pulls away from eastern Colorado, the normal “donut hole” has developed between downtown Colorado Springs and Pueblo and these areas will continue to be drier through the rest of the night. The blizzard will continue into the evening over the Palmer Divide as snow will keep falling and the wind will keep blowing. Many of the closed roads aren’t likely to reopen by Thursday morning.
Specific snow amounts can be some of the most challenging elements of a forecast. We have to figure out if the snow will be wet and thick, or airy and fluffy. We have to figure out if the snow will melt from below, or how much it will compact once it falls and new snow falls on top of it. Measuring snow can be even more of a challenge though, especially during a blizzard like this when gusts may be near 75mph in some spots this afternoon or early evening.
The southeast plains has not seen any accumulation this go round, but the storm has been a welcomed moisture producer with rain and thunderstorms it brought during the morning and early afternoon.
Many have already seen all the accumulation they will get, this is true for S El Paso and Teller Counties. Even tonight most areas closest to the Plamer Divide have already seen the majority of their storm totals… a few more inches fall overnight into early Thursday along the Divide bringing us up to the higher end of the storm forecast seen above. It’ll be hard to measure though given the wind! Some of the drifts in open areas of El Paso County may get drifts between 6 and 10 feet too.