The well-advertised cold front will be approaching Colorado on Wednesday, but wait until the early morning hours of Thursday to move across southern Colorado.
There is about a 55F degree temperature difference across the front. As an example, Denver should be about 80 degrees at 2 p.m. Wednesday, while snow continues in Billings, Montana with temperatures only in the mid-20s.
The front should arrive in the Denver area about 9 a.m. and spill over the Palmer Divide within an hour or so of midnight. The front will announce its arrival with a strong north wind that will spread into New Mexico and Oklahoma by sunrise Thursday.
Don’t be surprised when you wake up to no snow! The snow will lag behind the front with this one. Early Thursday commuters to Denver will run into snowflakes, but the snow shouldn’t be very heavy and the drive up to the Mile High City will likely be okay. If traveling into the mountains west of Denver, though, you should be ready for heavier snow and winter driving conditions.
The biggest impacts overall will be in the Pikes Peak Region with this storm. While we’ll still have some wind early on behind the front, the morning commute for the most part should be okay. However, as snow moves into the Pikes Peak Region during the late morning, some bursts will develop in the afternoon. The evening commute should be a bigger challenge as some roads may start to slush up, or even become icy Thursday night as temperatures keep falling.
Snow will spread south over the southern mountains during the afternoon and move east out onto the plains too. We do expect a couple inches of snow to fall on the Decker Fire during the afternoon on Thursday. Snow amounts are always a tricky part of the forecast, with early season snows as the ground retains heat that will melt snow once it falls.
Snow amounts over the plains and southern mountains should generally be light, but enough flakes fall to likely still call this the first snow of the year. The central and northern mountains of Colorado and the Pikes Peak Region should get the most out of this storm.
While amounts should be light and mostly on the grass in central Colorado Springs, areas with higher elevation to the north should get an inch or two on the grass. Places like Briargate, Flying Horse, Gleneagle, Mountain Shadows and Rockrimmon are likely to get up to a couple inches. Monument, Black Forest and Peyton could get a little bit more.
Teller County as a generality should get 2″ to 6″ of snow, and roads are likely to become icy Thursday night. This is in response to temperatures continuing to fall, and by Friday morning single digits and teens should be setting new records.