Coloradans are in for some serious winter weather this weekend and early next week.
Some areas of the northern mountains could get up to 30 inches of snow by Saturday, and Denver and the plains could see wind chills of -20 degrees Sunday through Tuesday.
Starting Friday afternoon, snow will intensify over the Park Range, including Rabbit Ears Pass, and portions of the northern Front Range mountains like Medicine Bow and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Snowfall rates could be as high as three inches per hour in the Park Range, and with strong winds through the night, blowing snow, poor visibility and treacherous conditions, travel will be nearly impossible in most mountain passes and some roadways.
Rabbit Ears Pass on U.S. 40 will likely see the most snowfall with up to 30 inches, so the National Weather Service is asking weekend drivers to avoid traveling through there Friday night.
Further south on the Interstate 70 mountain corridor, snow is likely to be much lighter; Vail Pass and some mountain ridges are expected to see the heaviest snowfall of four to ten inches. The snow here is still likely to impact travel over the weekend, especially Saturday morning with added ski traffic.
In Denver and the northeast plains, the main focus of the weekend and early next week will be bitterly cold temperatures as a cold front moves in Saturday and lasts through Tuesday.
“Sensitive infrastructure and vulnerable populations need to prepare for 72-84 hours of very cold conditions all across eastern Colorado,” forecasters at the National Weather Service in Boulder said. “Wind chills may drop to -20 across some areas of the plains, and possibly as cold as -10 to -15 in metro Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins and Greeley, especially Monday and Tuesday mornings.”
Temperatures will start falling throughout the day Saturday into the teens, then the low Saturday night is 6 degrees.
Temperatures Sunday should only reach highs in the teens across the plains and Interstate 25 urban corridor, then drop overnight to below zero.
Temperatures will range from -5 to -10 degrees, and one forecast model shows “it`s pretty darn certain that temps will drop to -10 in the metro area,” forecasters said. Wind chills could also get as cold as -20 degrees in some areas.
Denver only has a high of six degrees Monday then will drop into negatives again overnight with a -2-degree low.
Tuesday will bring another bitterly cold morning, then it could “warm” up to the teens, but forecasters say that guidance could be too warm.
After Tuesday, temperatures will return to the 30s for the beginning of February, and Wednesday through Friday will be mostly sunny.
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