Light snow falling in Denver and the Front Range

Travel in the mountains very difficult

DENVER - A little rain and snow is falling across the Front Range now.   It's going to be patchy and pretty light for the majority of us, but some areas south of I-70 may pick up 1-3 inches of snow by tomorrow night.

The mountains have been getting intense snowfall and strong winds.   The winds will pick up across the Front Range this evening and tomorrow.  A High Wind Watch is in effect for areas east of I-25, but does include Fort Collins.

We've seen reports of nearly 2 feet of new snow in the mountains, and another foot is possible through Monday night.  This is great for the ski industry, however, it is making travel quite a mess.  Periodic closures have occurred and likely will through Tuesday morning as road conditions remain dangerous.  Also, CDOT is planning on avalanche mitigation Monday which will add to the delays.

So far our moisture has been moving into the state from the northwest.  That direction favors the mountains, but leaves the plains dry.  That same flow will shift a bit Monday, coming more from the north and northeast.

This slight change in wind direction will help "push" some moisture up against the mountains, the Cheyenne Ridge, and the Palmer Divide.  This will help create a few areas of rain and snow but just a few areas.

Those lucky 20% or so that have a rain/snow band can expect a bit to stick.  Water amounts will be about a 0.10 of an inch.  If that falls as snow you could see 1 to 3 inches.  However, that's for very few of us.  The most likely areas to see snow are to the north near Larimer County and to the south for Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert counties.

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 -- although Tuesday will stay windy.  

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. 

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