Monday stayed breezy, dry and warm around much of Colorado, but it was a calm before the storm.
A powerful system that hit the West Coast on Sunday has moved inland and will bring mountain snow, rain and gusty winds to much of Colorado through Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Over the weekend, the storm dumped rain on areas of the coast that have been in a historic drought. While this much-needed water brought many benefits, including lowering the wildfire risk in the region, it also increased new flood and mudslide risks, especially to places recovering from wildfires, according to the Associated Press.
Truly amazing satellite imagery of the powerful storm (technically a "bomb cyclone," as some have noted, due to its very rapid strengthening) affecting nearly the entire West Coast Sunday afternoon. What an incredible specimen of a textbook mid-latitude cyclone! #CAwx #ORwx #WAwx pic.twitter.com/7xgIcxfRaZ— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) October 24, 2021
The storm will ease up by the time it reaches Colorado, but it's still packing a punch.
A few areas were under a Winter Weather Advisories Monday night:
- San Juan Mountains above 9,500 feet | Starting at midnight through Tuesday evening
- Eastern Uintas above 9,500 feet | Starting at 9 p.m. through noon on Tuesday
Drivers in those areas, even at nearby lower elevations, should expect to see slow travel times on snow-packed roads.
Come Tuesday, the mountains will see the bulk of the snow. While it will stay light, the NWS said there could be brief heavier showers and accumulation is likely on ridges.
Mountain passes will see a few inches of snow with heavier amounts mostly in the state's northern backcountry areas, according to NWS.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said Tuesday morning that the chance of triggering an avalanche increases Tuesday and Wednesday, particularly on north- and east-facing slopes at high elevation, where deep early-season snow is lingering.
Around Denver, rain is likely by Tuesday afternoon and evening with a few possible thunderstorms. The day will start mild, dry and breezy before the stronger cold winds — with gusts up to 50 mph on the plains and 60 mph over the Front Range mountains and foothills — move in with the precipitation.
On Tuesday evening, the bulk of the showers will have moved across the plains.
By Wednesday, skies will clear, but conditions will stay gusty for much of the day. Temperatures will reach highs near 60 around Denver, according to the NWS.
The end of the week is expected to stay dry and calm ahead of Halloween weekend.
Denver typically sees a few snowstorms in October, but that has yet to happen in 2021. The average snowfall in the city in October is 4.1 inches.
In both 2010 and 2016, Denver didn't see its first snow until mid-November.
The snowiest October on record was in 1969, when 31.2 inches fell on the city.