Snow, Sub-Zero Temperatures To Blast Colorado

Get Ready For A Ride On The Arctic Express

We know this isn't the news you were hoping for, but more snow is on the way to Colorado. And unlike previous storm systems, this one will deliver a one-two punch.

A large winter storm system in the Gulf of Alaska will move into British Columbia and Washington over the next 24 hours, then drop south into Nevada and Utah by Thursday morning. At the same time, a very strong cold front will move into Colorado from the north, ushering in polar air from Alaska and northern Canada.

The result will be prolonged cold and snow affecting the entire state, starting sometime Thursday and lasting through Sunday.

The storm will create travel problems all across Colorado, partly due to the new snow expected, but also given that numerous locations still haven't recovered from the past storm systems.

So how much snow will we see?

This is a really tough call, as it will be more of a timing issue as opposed to if right ingredients come together.

Currently, the window for heavy snow is Thursday evening into Friday afternoon.

"Denver, the foothills, and the eastern plains all stand the chance of seeing 6 to 12 inches of snow from this storm," said 7NEWS Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson. "But the main brunt from this storm will be the extreme cold."

If the cold air arrives too fast, it is possible we could see just a few inches of snow. But with temperatures at or below zero, even a half-inch of snow will be enough to make travel a nightmare.

Another scenario depends on the timing of the cold air and best snow dynamics. When temperatures are between 3 and 14 degrees, you get the best conditions for maximizing the growth of snow crystals.

In warmer snowstorms, with temperatures in the 20s, an inch of water can yield between 8 and 12 inches of snow. When temperatures are between 3 and 14 degrees, an inch of water can yield 15 to 30 inches of dry, fluffy snow.

How cold will it be and how long will it last?

January is known for having some of the coldest air of the winter season, and this year will be no exception. Click here for historical facts of cold January weather in Denver.

By the coming weekend, forecast highs will only be in the single digits for Denver and the eastern plains. It is entirely possible that highs on Saturday may not climb above 0 degrees in Denver.

Overnight lows will be well below zero over the weekend.

"This will likely be the most dangerous part of this storm system," said Nelson. "We will fall below the freezing mark by Thursday afternoon and could remain there for the next seven days -- with each night at or below zero."

What do I do if I have travel plans?

Travel conditions will rapidly deteriorate during the afternoon hours on Thursday, both in the mountains and across the urban corridor. This is a large, slow-moving storm system and will impact surrounding states with wind, cold, and snow.

In western Kansas there could even be a period of freezing rain and sleet Thursday.

Click here and bookmark this page for links to airlines, road conditions in Colorado and surrounding states, and more.

The meteorologists of 7NEWS are busy analyzing the latest information on the approaching storm. Stay with 7NEWS and TheDenverChannel.com for the latest forecast over the next few days.

Consider bookmarking the weather page of TheDenverChannel.com or making us your home page. This story will be updated each morning and evening, and can be accessed by clicking the red alert box at the top of the weather page.

You can also get the latest information on 7NEWS, Comcast Digital Cable Channel 247, by calling our weather line at (303) 832-0247, or by listening to our radio partners.

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