Spring is a time of transition, and sometimes it happens really fast.
That’ll be the case on Wednesday as a very strong storm will blossom over eastern Colorado. While it will “bomb out,” a term meteorologists use when a storm’s central air pressure drops 24 millibars or more in 24 hours, this one will NOT cause the impacts the mid-March storm did.
That said, a major blizzard will occur over the northern high plains from northwest Kansas into extreme northeast Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. A BLIZZARD WARNING will also impact N El Paso County but not ALL of the county as it did in our last “Bomb Cyclone.” The air pressure should end up the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane and may set April air pressure records in Kansas and Nebraska.
That said, things will change dramatically on Wednesday. High temperatures in the mid 50s for Colorado Springs and mid to upper 60s for Pueblo in the late morning or early afternoon plummet behind a cold front that races south as a storm spins up to our east. The arrival of the cold air will bring a quick 15 to 20 degree drop and a strong north wind. Showers will develop along and immediately behind the front, with any rain quickly changing to snow.
North of Colorado Springs, the higher elevation of the Palmer Divide will provide additional lift and snow will come down in some intense bursts during the afternoon. This will coincide with increasing wind and the evening commute will likely be challenging between Colorado Springs and Denver and towards Limon on Highway 24. Don’t be fooled by the nice weather when you leave the house Wednesday morning. Things will change fast!
Snow amounts get a little tricky this time of year, and we’ll be tweaking these through Wednesday morning, but the heaviest snow will fall north of Colorado Springs with this one. There may be a pocket of a little more up against the Rampart Range west of Palmer Lake and north across Douglas County. A general 3″-6″ is likely to fall over the spine of the Palmer Divide. Dropping south into the Springs, we do expect accumulation but the numbers will quickly drop off across town.
Even though this map shows the potential for some in Pueblo, odds aren’t very likley that you’d get much. However the mountains southwest of town, the southern I-25 corridor and the eastern plains south of highway are liekly to see some snow stick, especially on the grass, decks, trees and car windshields. A High Wind Warning has been issued for the plains of southern Colorado where we don’t expect as much snow as northern El Paso County. Wednesday afternoon and evening a strong north wind between 40 and 60 mph may cause some problems for high profile vehicles driving on east-west roads or for any patio furniture that isn’t tied down.