DENVER - If you saw the thick clouds over the Front Range today, then you have already noticed the first sign that the weather is changing.
These clouds are the leading line of the next winter storm. Right now over Utah and Idaho, the system has a good amount of Pacific moisture to push over Colorado to end the week.
This cloud cover seen Thursday is the leading line of the next winter storm. Right now, the system has a good amount of Pacific moisture pushing into Colorado.
The mountains will begin to see snowfall from the late Thursday evening through the day Friday. Winter weather advisories in the central and western mountains call for 6 to 12 inches of snow by early Saturday morning. The winter storm warning for the Sangre de Cristo's calls for 8 to 20 inches. Travel will become more hazardous Friday through early Saturday.
Another impact will be the wind, especially in the high country, with gusts to 35mph and higher. The wind may also increase for the foothills near the Front Range overnight as the system draws closer. This will create areas of blowing snow and reduced visibility.
The storm will push over the greater metro area early Friday, lasting through the evening. A winter weather advisory for 5 to 10" of snow is just to the west and southwest of Denver, starting at 11am Friday. With that said, there will be some minor impact to the morning commute, but a bigger impact to afternoon and evening drivers. The rain and snow chance increase by midday, remain through the evening, then taper off into Saturday morning.
Like the past couple of systems, you can expect a temperature drop with rain and snow -- highs will be in the upper 30s and lower 40s. Any snowfall accumulation is subject to rapid melting. Grassy areas in some locations will have a few inches by evening, and there will be some roads that have a slushy mess by the evening commute.
As that system exits Saturday, a quick warm-up will follow. We're expecting highs in the 50 on Saturday and 60s on Sunday. This warm air will hang around through early next week, with another storm by the middle of the week.