This story was last updated Wednesday. Tap here for the latest on the storm.
SOUTHERN COLORADO — Forecasting our weekend spring storm has been a challenge! Early this week it became clear that somewhere in Colorado we would see VERY heavy snow from this storm. But where? How much? That’s just something that we cannot know 5 or more days out from a storm. Especially one with such huge potential for change.
Now that the storm is just 2 days out from arrival, it should get here Friday afternoon, we have a much better idea of who will see the heavy snow and how much. Let’s talk about the forecast process, there is a lot that goes into it! Early this week one forecast model made some predictions that were shared all over social media and, unfortunately, were even made into headlines. Let’s compare that model’s early forecast to its Wednesday update. Huge changes! And that is no surprise to meteorologists who are familiar with Colorado weather. Will Colorado Springs see 43″ of snow will this storm? Absolutely not, and we never thought that we would. This is why it is important to take these early models runs with a grain of salt and why it’s not a good idea for people to share them. On Monday, this said to us “the storm has potential for some high impacts” but that’s it. To someone who is not a forecaster, a model run like this could be alarming!
The track of this storm has changed a bit over the last several days, it is trending a little more north and there’s quite a bit of model disagreement over it. Taking that change, the track and how this set up usually pans out for Colorado we have a better idea of how this storm could play out for the region this weekend.
For some this will be a very high impact storm! Locally the Pikes Peak Region sees the highest impacts with the heaviest snow set to fall over N El Paso County. Colorado Springs sees pockets of very heavy snow too with the far N end seeing the potential for up to 1′, most will stay below that. Teller County will likely see a widespread 10″ with heavier pockets. This will combine with wind to create very dangerous to near impossible driving conditions for much of the Pikes Peak Region through Denver. Blizzard conditions are possible at times. The heavy snow arrives Friday night and Saturday will be the worst day. Sunday will be high impact too with improvements coming at night.
Wind will be strong both Saturday and Sunday and snow will drift. S of the Pikes Peak Region there is a bit more uncertainty. Models have continued to shift the track of the storm N. This means, outside of the mountains, areas near and S of HWY 50 will likely not see heavy snow. There’s also the potential for the SE plains to wind up in a bit of dry slot over the weekend. This would reduce the potential for moisture here, rain or snow, significantly. This storm still has room for change! If the track shifts more to the N we will see lighter totals for the Pikes Peak Region as a result. Stay with us as we continue to monitor and update the forecast and prepare for a weekend indoors if you live in these high impact areas.