Northern and central mountains to get pounded by snowfall

Feet of snow to fall in parts of mountains

DENVER - The mountains will be hit with very heavy snowfall Sunday and Monday, then additional snowfall by Christmas Day.  For the high country, strong wind will blow in the heavy snowfall tonight and Sunday.  Meanwhile, a mostly dry week expected from along I-25 to the east.  

In Denver you'll notice the cloud cover increase this evening as the snow starts to crank up in the high country.  The city will have a cloudy night and day Sunday.  Overnight lows will be in the 20s, with Denver area high temperatures hitting near to and into the 50s Sunday.  However, it will feel cool with the cloud cover.  Monday will also be cloudy, but cooler with low 40s, as this system moves overhead.

We have a lot of moisture coming in over the western third of the country.  Rain and snow cover much of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.  This moisture now moves into Colorado for the night, Sunday, and Monday.

The direction of this "flow" is from the northwest, which is not a good direction for anyone east of the mountains to get snow and or rain.  However, the central mountains to the western slope will have lots of moisture Sunday and Monday.  Some will have feet of snowfall.  Many of the resorts will be adding well over a foot of new powder in time for the holiday rush of skiers/riders.  Those resorts that face west and north will come out ahead of the others. 

It may surprise you that very little of all that moisture is going to get on the eastern half of the state, including the Denver area, although the entire state will see the clouds.  A cloudy sky expected tonight through Monday for the metro areas.  Denver and the Front Range has a slight chance for snow/rain by Sunday night and Monday.  I emphasize a slight chance.  

During this period, a stronger wind will be blowing overhead, 20,000 feet or so, and that may draw enough energy to give a snow band or two for the city areas.  That is only If that wind can tear enough moisture away from the mountains, like pulling strands from a cotton ball.  If so, the result will be a few areas of a few inches of snow, but not for everyone -- just in small pockets.

This first push of moisture will take a bit of a break Tuesday and Wednesday, which will be the best travel days within the state ahead of Christmas.  Then, another push of moisture will move through around Christmas Day.  I don't see nearly as much humidity with that next one though, so the amount and chance for snow will be less than this first system, and again focusing on the central and northern mountains the most.

To be realistic, I won't and can't say that Denver and the city areas won't have snow falling on Christmas.  It certainly remains possible.  However, the chance for snow on the ground or snow falling isn't overly optimistic.  This may be bad for dreamers of a white Christmas, but good news for those traveling.

This isn't much of a shock, as it fits with our history.  Only 18 times since the late 1800s has snow fallen on Christmas Day in the city.  Denver does not have snow fall on Christmas Day very often. Click here to read more about our chances.

Matt Makens has been with us since 2010, calling Castle Rock home.  In fact, that's where he was born and raised.  Nice to have him home after several years working elsewhere.  You can follow him on twitter and facebook.

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