Late spring snowstorm to slam the Front Range

Late spring snowstorm to slam the Front Range
Posted at 4:43 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 18:48:54-04

A big, soggy storm is coming, dumping up to three feet of snow in the mountains and bringing several inches of wet, slushy snow to the Denver area, according to First Alert Weather Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson.  

Rain and snow are increasing in the mountains and will continue, heavy at times, through Thursday. In Denver, most of the precipitation will fall in the form of rain Wednesday night, but snow will mix in with the rain above 7,000 feet and several inches will be likely in the foothills.

Showers and thunderstorms will become widespread over the northeast plains Wednesday evening, becoming just a cold, steady rain by Thursday morning, Nelson says. Increasing northeast winds and colder temperatures will make it uncomfortable to be outdoors -- so make sure to dress in layers. 

Thursday will be a windy, wet and cold day over the I-25 Corridor and the northeast plains with temperatures in the low to mid-40s, strong northeast winds and moderate to heavy rain. Total precipitation from this storm will be one to two inches of liquid with some local amounts of over three inches of water, according to Nelson.

WINTER STORM WARNINGS are in effect for the central and northern mountains along and east of the Continental Divide through Friday morning. Snow will accumulate between to to three feet above 10,000 feet with one-to-two feet possible between 7,000 and 10,000 feet.

The western and southern Denver suburbs (elevations above 6,000 feet) could see four to eight inches of wet, slushy snow Thursday night, Nelson said. The heavy nature of the snow will mean that it will quickly pack down and begin to soak into the ground, so the accumulation may seem a little lower. Roads will be wet and slushy, especially ramps and bridges.

The downtown Denver area and elevations between 5,000 and 6,000 feet can expect two-to-four inches of slushy snow. Roads will be mainly wet in Denver early Friday, but there will be some accumulation on grassy areas. Farther to the east, elevations below 5,000 feet will have a rain/snow mix and may pick up one to two inches of snow on grassy areas and picnic table tops, Nelson said. 

With most of the trees already in leaf, there will be the potential for numerous broken branches and power outages -- especially for elevations above 6,000 feet Thursday night and Friday morning. Spring flowers and plants will need to be covered or brought inside if possible.

RELATED: Protect your garden when spring snow strikes

Friday will stay cold and wet with the slushy snow turning mostly back to rain in the metro area. Snow will continue in the foothills and mountains -- mainly above 7,000 feet. Highs will stay in the low to mid-40s -- about 30 degrees colder than average for mid-May.

By Saturday, the storm will be exiting our region, but temperatures will be around freezing in the morning and only reach the mid 50s in the afternoon. The winds aloft will be blowing from the northwest, keeping conditions aloft unsettled and some afternoon showers will be possible, Nelson said. 

Sunday will be a drier and milder day with temperatures returning to the low to mid-60s and the rain chances becoming low. Monday and Tuesday will still be a touch cool with some scattered showers and thunderstorms. 

It might take until the middle of next week for high temperatures to climb back into the 70s. 


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