There were three mechanisms of lift that moved over the region Wednesday morning as the storm moved out of the four-corners area across southern Colorado:

  • Diffluence Aloft – Wind flow fanning out in the mid and upper-levels of the atmosphere ahead of the storm circulation pulls air upward from lower levels.
  • Overrunning – The southwest flow ahead of the storm in the mid-levels was being forced upward along the cold front surface that had moved into the plains and pushed west into the foothills
  • Upslope – The colder air at the surface was also pushing into the higher terrain of eastern Colorado, originally into the foothills from the east. With time on Wednesday the wind shifted more northerly, causing lift over the northern slopes of the Palmer Divide and the Raton Mesa. This wind shift also produced sinking downslope over El Paso County during the afternoon.

Pikes Peak Region

Pikes Peak “shadowed” some of the areas immediately to its northeast from the overrunning during this storm. Removing/minimizing one of the lifting mechanisms keeping the west side of the metro area, the Air Force Academy toward Monument and Black Forest on the low end of our forecasted range of 5-9″ and even an inch lower than that in some neighborhoods.

Pikes Peak also blocked the overrunning from being able to occur on the western side of America’s Mountain. While we new this was going to be the case most areas here ended up shy of the low end of our forecasted range.

We did make our 5-9″ range on the south and east side of the metro area from Fountain, Security-Widefield, eastern Colorado Springs, Falcon and Peyton. A band of heavy snow Tuesday night prior to the main round of snow early Wednesday actually helped to give the Peyton area 13″ for the top spot in the Pikes Peak Region.

Pueblo – Highway 50 – Wet/Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Everything came together as we forecasted farther to the south though, especially from Interstate 25 and west. Pueblo West and Pueblo were between 6 and 8 inches in most neighborhoods while areas toward Cañon City and the northern part of Pueblo County had less. The mountains southwest of Pueblo were right in the 9-18″ range we forecasted and most of the lower areas of the mountains and the southern I25 corridor hit the 6-12″ we thought would fall.