March has been an active weather month in Colorado, and the last few days of the month will be no exception. A strong cold front approaching from the northwest will boost high temperatures to near-record levels as the workweek begins.
Wind will begin descending down the mountain slopes through the morning as a mountain wave develops. Mountain waves tend to produce localized areas of very strong wind gusts. As of 7:30 a.m., Berthoud Pass north of Interstate 70 has already had gusts over 70 mph – and some areas may gust as high as 80 mph through the first half of the day.
Wind will spread across lower elevations into the afternoon, and while they won’t be as strong, some gusts around 50 mph will be possible east of the Rockies in the afternoon. The dry air ahead of the cold front will combine with the wind to produce high fire danger conditions. This will be tempered a bit by recent moisture, but if any fires start, they’ll be likely to spread fast.
During the evening a cold front will drop in from the north. The third image in the gallery above shows the wind at midnight as Tuesday begins. Behind the front this wind will be out of the north.
The cold front takes us from near-record highs to the 30s and 40s on Tuesday. Anytime you get a 40-degree drop over the course of 24 hours, it feels like a shock to the system.
Snow will lag behind the front several hours, but by sunrise Tuesday it’ll be snowing in the Pikes Peak region. Elevation plays an important role on impacts with late-season storms, particularly coming off of several warm days. The higher you are in the Pikes Peak region, the more the snow will stick and the more likely roads will at least slush up during the morning.
Snow will spread south through the day on Tuesday and the mountains southwest of Pueblo are likely to get snow too. Over the plains some light accumulation may occur under the heavier bursts of snow, but I don’t expect anything significant.
Behind this storm a really nice stretch of weather is on the way as April begins.