Mike's Blog Archive: February, March 2008

Monday March 31, 2008 A low pressure system slid across central Colorado overnight, dropping heavy snow on the mountains and foothills and bringing a slushy mix of snow and rain for lower elevations. Most of the heavy precipitation fell along and north of I-70, with over a foot of snow in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Most of the ski resorts in central and northern Colorado are blanketed with 6 to 12 inches of new snow this morning. More snow will tumble down in the high country through the day, with additional accumulations of 4 to 6 inches.

Denver missed the brunt of this storm so far, with the moisture falling as close as the northwestern suburbs, Fort Collins and Greeley. Travel on I-25 north of Denver will be wet and even a little slushy at times today, while from Denver to the south, the road conditions are much drier. From Castle Rock to Raton Pass, expect just a mix of rain and snow showers, with little accumulation.

The storm system will spin off to the east of Colorado tomorrow, with clearing skies and cool, but comfortable temperatures. Wednesday will be warmer, as metro area highs will push back into the upper 50s to low 60s, with 40s in the mountains. Another storm system is expected on Thursday, bringing some more snow to the mountains, and a mix of light rain and snow on the plains. Right now, the first weekend in April is shaping up to be mild and dry.

Saturday March 29, 2008 Temperatures warmed into the mid 60s in Denver on Saturday, but colder conditions are on the way for Sunday. A cold front will push across Colorado overnight, spreading snow over the mountains - with 5-10 inches possible. On the plains, some light rain and snow will develop tonight and linger into Sunday. This will not be a big storm for eastern Colorado, just an inch or two on grassy surfaces at the most. The main change will be in temperatures. Highs will be about 20 degrees colder Sunday and Monday, with readings only climbing into the 40s.

There will be some additional upper air disturbances drifting over the state through Monday, keeping the mountains under a chance for snow and at least some flurries on the plains. Temperatures will be chilly for a couple of days, so March will end in a bit more of a "lion-like" manner. April will start out with a return to sunshine and a warming trend. High temperatures should bounce back into the 60s by Wednesday and continue mild through the rest of the week.

Friday March 28, 2008 Colder weather spilled into Colorado on Thursday, along with a few inches of snow over Larimer and Weld Counties and the Northern Mountains. The storm system that brought the wintry weather has now moved well east of Colorado and drier conditions are in store for the first half of the weekend. Skies will be sunny to partly cloudy throughout the state through Saturday, before the next storm system rolls in from the west by early Sunday. High temperatures will rebound with the sunshine, reaching the 50s on the plains today and 60s on Saturday. The mountains will have highs in the mid 30s to upper 40s.

The next storm system will arrive in the state Saturday night, with snow developing in the mountains. Sunday will turn colder statewide, with a good chance for snow in the hgih country and a mix of rain and snow for lower elevations. The storm will linger into early Monday before exiting into the central plains. Although it does not look to be a major March storm, the mountains should get a good 4 to 8 inches of snow, with a chance for some light accumulations on the plains.

April is often a very turbulent month, with plenty of soggy storm systems. It appears that April 2008 will start out mild and quiet, with partly cloudy skies Tuesday and sunshine Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures will be mild, as highs return to the 60s in Denver and across the plains for the middle of next week. Right now, it also looks like our forecast future is favorable for the Rockies home opener on Friday April 4th. We will keep an eye on that as things can change in a hurry, especially in the early spring in the Rockies!

Thursday March 27, 2008 Most of March has been a very mild and mellow fellow in 2008, as the old man of winter has been replaced by a fling with spring! High temperatures on Wednesday reached the low 70s in Denver, with readings bouncing all the way to 77 degrees at La Junta and Pueblo for the state's high. A cold front slipped into the state overnight and has now move into central Kansas. Gusty northwesterly winds behind the front will usher in cooler air for today. Some snow has been falling in the mountains from this front, with most of the areas along and north of I-70 getting about 2-4 inches of fresh snow. Scattered snow showers have also developed on the plains today, with modest accumulations from Estes Park to Fort Collins and Greeley. The snow will taper off late this morning, but the temperatures will stay chilly, highs will about 15-20 degrees cooler than yesterday.

The cooler weather will stick around through tomorrow, but the skies will return to mostly sunny for Friday. The winds will shift and blow in from the southwest on Saturday, brining back some warmer air to the state. Those winds will blow in ahead of the next cold front that will arrive in Colorado on Sunday. Once again, the mountains of northern and central Colorado will receive the bulk of any moisture, with a few more inches of snow expected Sunday and Sunday night. Denver and the eastern plains will cool off on Sunday, with some light rain and snow possible by evening.

By Monday, that cold front will have exited the region, leaving us with a "lamb-like" finish to the month of March. Tuesday should start April off in style, with sunny skies and warmer weather (no fooling). The potential for a big, soggy storm system later next week seems to be fading with the newer long range forecast models, so at this point opening day for the Rockies on Friday looks good!

Wednesday March 26, 2008 The weather pattern will stay on the dry and mild side across Colorado for today as southwesterly breezes bring warmer air into the state once again. Highs will reach the upper 60s in the Denver area, with readings soaring into the 70s across southeastern Colorado. In the mountains, temperatures will rise into the 40s at the ski resorts, making for soft spring skiing - but be sure to wear that sunscreen!

There will be a weak cold front moving into Colorado tomorrow. This front does not have a lot of moisture, but it will bring an increase in clouds and some rain and snow showers to the mountains and western slope during the day. In Denver and across the eastern plains, there will be some scattered rain and snow showers Thursday night, but skies will clear on Friday with cooler temperatures.

The weekend will start out dry and mild over Colorado, with warmer temperatures returning for Saturday. Another rather meek cold front will zip through the region late Sunday into Monday, bringing more light rain and snow, but not sticking around long enough to become a major storm. Temperatures will cool a bit on Sunday and that trend will linger into Monday.

March will likely finish in a lamb-like manner, with mild and quiet weather expected by late Monday. Right now, it looks as though April will not begin in a stormy fashion - at least for April Fool's Day. Through the middle of next week, things look as though they will stay peaceful, but after that, it might get quite interesting! I am watching a potential soggy spring storm system that could be in our future by about April 3rd or 4th. That is still a long ways off, and the 4th is the home opener for the Rockies, so I will keep you posted on how that storm system is shaping up.

Tuesday March 25, 2008 Our late March weather remains more like a kitten than a lion. The overall pattern is quiet and dry across the central Rockies, with no major storms in sight. A very weak cold front will slip through the area today, bringing some light north winds and slightly cooler weather, but no rain or snow.

The cold front will move back north of Colorado on Wednesday, and temperatures will warm back into the upper 60s to near 70 on the eastern plains. There will be a somewhat stronger cold front heading our way on Thursday, with increasing clouds and snow likely for the mountains, and a few showers on the plains. This system will be a pretty modest one overall, so accumulations will be only a few inches in the mountains, with trace amounts at lower elevations

The weekend looks mild and dry as we close out March. The jetstream remains in a general northwest to southeast flow pattern and the storm systems imbedded in this flow are all relatively weak. Nonetheless, late March and early April can bring big, soggy storms - especially to the Front Range. The 24/7 Weather Center will keep an eye on the Pacific, as that is where our next big storm would begin to develop.

Monday March 24, 2008 Warm and dry weather will cover Colorado to start the week, with high temperatures reaching well above average across the state. High temperatures will soar into the 60s to near 70 on the eastern plains, with 40s in the mountains. There are no major weather systems coming across the region for the next 5 to 7 days, but there will be a couple of weak cold fronts bringing subtle changes in the weather. On Tuesday, a minor cold front will slip into the region, dropping the highs back to around 60 for Denver and bringing just a touch of snow to the mountains. Another weak front will arrive late Thursday and bring a slight chance for rain and snow to lower elevations and a few inches of snow to the mountains.

The overall weather pattern does not favor any big March snowstorms through next weekend, so odds are pretty good that Denver will escape the month with only about 5 inches of snow, less than half the average snowfall of 12 inches. For the season, Denver has had a mere 39 inches of snow since September. The average snowfall for the season in Denver is 61.7 inches, so we will need a very snowy April to even come close to an average winter. By comparison, last winter, Denver tallied 72.6 inches of snow.

The long range forecast for April 2008, does not seem to favor a cold and snowy month for the state. Much of the central and southern Rockies are predicted to be drier and warmer than average for the month. I always look at April with caution, however, as it is a month that transitions from winter weather pattern to spring across the central United States. This time of year can bring plenty of variety and big storms, so stand by for adventure as we see March come to a close and April begin.

Wednesday March 19, 2008 The last afternoon of winter will be calm, quiet and sunny across Colorado. The satellite images of the central Rockies shows almost no clouds for several hundred miles. Temperatures will be pleasant under the gaze of the mid March sunshine. Highs will be in the 50s on the plains and in Grand Junction, while mid 30s to mid 40s cover the mountains. Spring will begin officially at 11:48 PM tonight - the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

The first full day of Spring will be mild again on the eastern plains, but a weak weather disturbance will swirl across the mountains on Thursday, bringing some light snow and colder temperatures. There are no strong storm systems heading our way for a while, so the weather pattern should behave itself through the weekend, with just a touch of light rain and snow Friday night and Saturday over eastern Colorado. By Easter Sunday, skies will clear again and although it will be cold for sunrise services, the sun should be shining.

The long range forecast for next week still appears to be pretty tranquil. Just because the calendar will now say Spring, we know from experience in Colorado that Old Man Winter still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve and there will be more cold and snow for the weeks to come.

Tuesday March 18, 2008 The storm system that brought some snow to Colorado yesterday, swirled over the southern plains overnight and produced heavy rain, strong winds and a few tornadoes to Oklahoma and Texas. That storm front will produce more nasty weather today over much of the Mississippi Valley. Behind the storm, our weather will be tranquil for a few days, with a slow warming trend. Winter is officially drawing to a close, tomorrow will be the first day of Spring! It is a bit of a technicality as the the actual March Equinox occurs at 11:48 PM on Wednesday.

There are no major storms in our forecast future for a few days. A minor front will slip into the state Friday and Saturday, with cooler weather and some light rain or snow for Saturday. By Easter Sunday, skies will clear in time for sunrise services, but temperatures will be chilly for this early Easter - in the 20s at dawn.

Even though the winter season is about done on the calendar, we know in Colorado that spring is still a long ways off. Late March and April are notorious for big soggy storms, especially along the Front Range. In that light, enjoy the mild respite for now, but keep the snow gear handy for a few more weeks.

Monday March 17, 2008 Even the best laid plans sometimes do not work out the way you expect. The storm system that looked like it would be strong, then looked weak, then strong again - has finally fizzled! The weather warnings and advisories will expire this morning as the low pressure center of this wannabee winter storm swirls off into Kansas. The storm never got organized enough to bring more than a few inches of snow over the metro area, although some 5 to 10 inch totals have been reported in the foothills. The surface winds have been shifting more to a direction from the northwest - not a good upslope direction for the Denver area.

Periods of snow will continuing today across the eastern plains, but accumulations will be only an inch or two. Skies will be clearing tonight, with cold temperatures in the low to mid 20s. By tomorrow, the weather will be sunny and warmer and the warming trend will continue through the rest of the work week. There may be another chance for snow by the weekend, but it does not look like a major storm at this time.

Sunday March 16 , 2008 The storm system that we have been talking about for nearly a week is finally about to move into Colorado. This storm has been a tricky one to forecast as the track of the low pressure system has been progged to go over Colorado, way south of Colorado or split apart and miss Colorado. As the hours pass, it now looks as though the storm will take a track that will bring more of the storm's fury over our state. In light of this new information, a WINTER STORM WATCH is now in effect for Denver and all of northeastern Colorado for Sunday night and Monday. It now appears that the Front Range and northeast plains will receive a moderately strong storm system that will drop 5 to 10 inches of snow across the region in the next 36 hours.

So far, this Sunday has been windy, but dry in advance of the storm. Weather conditions will change during the afternoon and early evening as showers and even a few thunderstorms develop. By late evening, colder air will change all of the rain to snow and the intensity of the storm will increase overnight. The Monday morning commute will be slushy and slow as 3 to 4 inches of snow will likely have fallen by that time. During the day on Monday, snow will continue to fall, accumulating to another 3-4 inches possible before tapering to flurries later in the day.

The heaviest snow amounts will be on the south and west sides of Denver, where the higher elevations will help enhance the upslope winds. Snow will accumulate to 8 inches or even 10 inches in parts of Jefferson, Douglas and Elbert counties. Farther to the north and east, the snow totals will be closer to 3-5 inches in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley.

With the storm moving in, stay tuned to 7News for the latest information. I will be on duty for the Sunday 5 and 10 PM shows and the 24/7 Weather Team will be fully staffed early Monday to give you the best weather information for your Monday morning drive. Jayson Luber will be there Monday morning with all of the current traffic and closure details. By Tuesday, the storm will move east of Colorado and mild, dry weather will return for the next several days.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 Colorado weather is mostly determined by that 14,000 wall of mountains! Over the next few days the mountains will be picking up heavy snow, while the plains stay dry and mild. A strong jetstream will move across the state from west to east during the next 48 hours. This river of fast moving air will be roaring overhead at about 100 mph at an altitude of 25 to 30 thousand feet and that will bring moisture to the mountains to the tune of 12-18 inches of heavy snow. On the plains, those same winds will inspire gusty downsloping breezes off the mountains. The air will be pretty much stripped of moisture by the time it drops down from the Continental Divide, so eastern Colorado will just have some high clouds.

Over the weekend, the jetstream will drop a little farther to the south as a strong Pacific storm system swings into California. This storm is the one we have been advertising for the past several days on 7News and it still bears watching as a potential snowmaker for Denver and the Front Range. The latest trend on this storm shows that we will escape the weekend with relatively dry and mild weather, but get colder on Monday with some snow. The track of the storm now appears to be heading farther south into New Mexico and west Texas. This will likely spare us from a major March storm, but we can expect some showers late on Sunday, with light snow on Monday. The storm is still several days out, so stay tuned and we will keep you up to date with the latest information.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 A weak cold front pushed across Colorado overnight and will bring slightly cooler weather into the area for the next few days. This front had very little moisture to work with, just enough to bring some high clouds to the plains, and a touch of snow for the mountains. Temperatures will be cooler today in the wake of the front, with readings about 10 degrees lower than yesterday. Winds will be from the northwest, blowing in at 10-20 mph, especially on the west side of I-25.

The next few days will see a gradual shift to a more unsettled pattern as the winds aloft increase and bring moisture into the central Rockies from the Pacific. The mountains will have a chance for snow just about every day through the weekend. At lower elevations, the weather will stay drier for the next few days, but could turn pretty stormy by late Sunday into Monday. There is a slight chance for some light rain and snow on Friday in Denver and across the plains, but amounts will be pretty small.

If we are going to get a stronger storm, that will arrive late Sunday and Monday. A more powerful system will come on shore in California on Saturday, turn across the Desert Southwest on Sunday, and spin into Colorado by Monday morning. Depending on the exact track of this next storm, we should see heavy mountain snows by Sunday afternoon and a chance for snow in Denver and across the eastern plains by Sunday night. Start watching our maps for that big red "L" this weekend. If the "L" heads for the southeast corner of Colorado by Monday, we will be in the right location to get some accumulating snow!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008Skies are beautifully clear across Colorado and temperatures are warming nicely on this Tuesday. The very weak weather disturbance that brought flurries to the mountains on Monday has slipped into west Texas today, leaving clear skies in it's wake. The sunny skies will help boost temperatures well above average across Colorado today, with 60s on the plains, 30s and 40s in the mountains and 50s on the western slope.

There will be a weak cold front moving into the state tonight, bringing a few snow flurries to the mountains, but just an increase in clouds for the plains. Tomorrow will be slightly cooler as the front passes through, with temperatures dropping about 10 degrees from today's readings. The weather will stay dry, but a little cooler through the rest of the week.

The next potential weather worry will arrive Sunday night into Monday as a larger storm system appears to be developing in the Pacific. This storm is still many days away and the track of it is quite uncertain at this time. There does seem to be some indication that it could become a big old March storm, with wind and heavy snow, but do not count on that just yet. We will keep an eye on the weather charts and let you know how things progress over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 10, 2008 We are one third of the way through March, and have only one moderate snowfall to show for it. The storm that hit on the 2nd has been the only system of any consequence so far for Denver and the Front Range. The mountains have fared slightly better in terms of snowfall, here is a link to a graph of mountain snowpack compared to average and other recent years - ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/basinplotstate08.gif - the total "melted" equivalent in the mountains is about 19 inches of water! Even if we do not get any more snow (very unlikely), the mountain snowpack is above the normal for an entire winter!

The weather will stay quiet across the state for the next 36 hours, followed by a weak cold front coming through on Wednesday. There will be some light to moderate snow in the mountains Tuesday night and Wednesday, with some rain and snow on the plains. Cooler, but dry conditions will move in on Thursday and Friday. There is a potentially stronger storm coming for next weekend that could bring heavier snow to the mountains and possibly for the metro areas on the plains. We will have to wait and see as the longer range models are skewed on what this weekend storm might do. I will keep you posted this week as the new data comes in on the weekend.

Friday, March 7, 2008 The storm system responsible for our midweek dusting of snow is poised to leave behind record snowfall in parts of the midwest over the weekend! Areas near Dayton and Columbus, Ohio may break 24 hour snowfall records with heavy snow expected overnight and into Saturday morning before tapering off to flurries late Saturday afternoon. The current record for Columbus is just under 13 inches in 24 hours. Its possible that record could be shattered by storm's end.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio has issued Blizzard Warnings until 4pm on Saturday for most of southwest and south-central Ohio. This includes the cities of Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Circleville, and Wilmington. In these areas, upwards of 18 inches of snow is possible along with windy conditions that will create blowing and drifting snow.

Many counties in the warning are under Level 1 or Level 2 snow emergencies. They can go as high as level 3 in extreme conditions and means that all roads are closed to non-emergency personnel or those who absolutely have to be traveling. Drivers may be arrested if caught driving.

The Blizzard of 1978 is often remembered as the big one for residents in that part of the country, but come Sunday, they may be discussing the Blizzard of 2008.

Wednesday March 5, 2008 We are proud to announce a new feature to the weather pages! Premium Weather! In this new section, you can find great forecasting maps, educational information, and weather sports information! Highly detailed maps, county-by-county watch and warning graphics, and radar images can be found here.

This new feature is free, but also has a Super Premium subscription service where you can track your own storms using state-of-the art technology! Other amazing features are included with that as well!

We have many other new exciting features launching soon, so check back again!

Saturday March 1, 2008 March has started off mild, dry and pleasant, with highs climbing into the 60s and even low 70s on the eastern plains. Day Two will be an entirely different story as a strong cold front will push through the state by early Sunday morning. This cold front will be a fast mover, and should sweep all of the warm weather quickly to our east. Due to the fast pace of the front, the snow amounts will be light, with only a few inches at most on the plains and about 4 to 8 inches in the mountains.

Temperatures will slowly rebound through Tuesday, but the overall weather pattern will stay a bit cool and unsettled this week, with another chance for snow about Wednesday.

We have added more new features to our weather page on TheDenverChannel.com! Be sure to check out our PREMIUM WEATHER section - it is filled with many new maps, a really cool kid's weather section - complete with games and experiments, travel weather, winter weather tips, trivia and much more! We also have a Super Premium option that you can try for free. This feature enables you to do the same type of storm tracking and personal futurecasting that we do in the 24/7 Weather Center! There is a free 14 day trial that you can sign up for to see if you find the features useful. Sign up the weather-nut in your family for Super Premium Weather - it makes a great gift and is very reasonably priced!

Thursday February 28, 2008 More beautiful weather is on the way for Colorado for the next three days. A mild westerly flow aloft will continue to keep temperatures above average as we finish February and move on to March. Highs will be in the upper 50s to low 60s on the plains through Friday, with mid 60s to near 70 degrees on Saturday. In the mountains, a few very light snow showers will fall today, mainly north of I-70, while Friday and Saturday will be mild and pleasant.

On Sunday, a fast moving cold front will turn our lamb-like start to March into a bit of a lion. Moderate to heavy snow is expected in the mountains - probably in the 6-12 inch range. On the plains, only an inch or two of snow is likely, but temperatures will take a tumble, dropping back into the low 40s. The cooler weather will linger into next week, with another cold front arriving by Wednesday, with more snow possible.

Tuesday February 26, 2008 The fast moving snowstorm that brought a trace to around 3 inches of snow to the Front Range last night is well south and east of us now. The snowfall was spotty, with heavy amounts over portions of Weld County and Adams, a few 2 inch amounts in the Denver area, but other places only seeing a dusting. The next few days will be dry and mild, with highs returning to the 50s by Wednesday and hitting the 60s on Saturday.

In the mountains, the weather will turn sunny and mild for the first time in a while. Delightful skiing conditions can be expected in the high country for several days, although no new snow is expected until the weekend. The mountain snowpack is now so deep, that even if there was not another flake, the average snowpack is now at the normal peak for the entire winter. Check out the graph of snowpack compared to other years and to normal at the following link... ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/basinplotstate08.gif

Monday February 25, 2008 The beautiful spring-like weather on Sunday brought golfers out on the courses to try their skills for the first time in a few months. Meanwhile, skiers and snowboarders had more powder to play in as the mountains were again getting dumped on as a strong cold front pushed into the state from the west. The mild weather has come to an end on the plains, as that same cold front blew through last night. The cold front only brought a little light rain and snow to eastern Colorado overnight, but the weather will be much colder today, with highs only in the 60s.

The second phase of this chilly change in the weather will arrive tonight as an upper air disturbance swings down from the northern plains and crosses Colorado. This disturbance will help keep the mountain snow machine running, while it also stirs up some snow for Denver and the eastern plains. It will not be a huge storm for the Front Range cities, but from Fort Collins to Denver we should see 1 to 3 inches of snow overnight. Heavy amounts will likely fall south of Denver and up along the Palmer Divide, with 4 or 5 inches possible by mid-morning on Tuesday.

Fortunately for fair weather fans, this storm system will lift out quickly tomorrow afternoon, to be followed by mild and dry weather for the rest of the week. Temperatures will stay chilly Tuesday, but moderate back to the 50s by Wednesday. Looking ahead, we might even get back to that 60 degree mark by Saturday!

Thursday February 21, 2008 The weather will stay cool today, with a mix of hazy sun, clouds and some snow flurries in the metro area and across the eastern plains. A weak upper air disturbance is swirling over the state, bringing some snow to the mountains, heaviest in the San Juans where about 6 inches fell overnight. The upper air disturbance will bring some flurries to eastern Colorado, but little accumulation is expected.

The cool and unsettled pattern will move out of the state Friday, but not for long. A series of weak, but fast moving storms will zip across the region over the next several days. There will be another slight chance for snow Saturday and again Monday. In between, Friday and Sunday should be dry and a little milder. Overall, our weather pattern is in a fairly benign phase for now - but the stormy month of March is just around the corner!

Wednesday February 20, 2008 After a lovely day Tuesday, with highs in the low 60s across most of eastern Colorado, today we are in for a chilly change. An arctic cold front slipped into eastern Colorado overnight, bringing back some icy air. This front surged southward from Canada pouring down over the Dakotas and Nebraska yesterday and washed into Colorado during the night. At the core of the cold air, temperatures today will stay below zero from North Dakota to northern Illinois. We are on the western shore of this ocean of arctic air, but highs will only reach the upper 30s to low 40s today, much colder than 24 hours ago. This type of cold front is called a "backdoor" front as it moved into the state from the northeast, the opposite direction from which most of our weather arrives in Colorado.

Higher in the sky, at about 20,000 feet, we do have a weather system heading into Colorado from the normal westerly direction. An upper air disturbance is spinning toward Colorado's mountains today and will spread clouds and light snow over the high country. This disturbance will arrive on the eastern plains Thursday, with a chance for flurries.

The cold air and the upper air disturbance will all slip back to the east of our state by Friday, allowing milder temperatures and more sunshine to return. The next weak storm system will move across the region on Saturday, with some light snow for the mountains and a few flurries or showers on the plains. Sunday will be drier again, followed by yet another weak storm system coming through next Monday.

Tuesday February 19, 2008 Colorado will enjoy a dry, mild and sunny day, with highs in the 30s in the mountains, 40s to mid 50s on the plains today. Light southwesterly winds and that bright sunshine will make for a winning combination. A cold front will slip down from Canada across the northern plains tonight and bring colder weather to the eastern half of the state for Wednesday. We will only catch the western edge of this front, the brunt of the cold air will affect the Upper Midwest with a real polar plunge of icy air across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The poor folks in those states will be lucky to get above zero for highs on Wednesday.

After a slight cooldown Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures here will bounce back to the low 50s Friday and Saturday. I am watching a potential storm system that will develop Sunday. The track and development of this storm is still very much in question, so do not worry about it too much right now. We will keep an eye on this one from the 24/7 Weather Center and keep you posted on how it evolves.

Sunday February 17, 2008 A cold front slipped across Colorado late Saturday and brought some light snow and chilly temperatures to the state. High temperatures were in the mid 50s Saturday, but will only climb into the 30s today. This chilly air is feeding into a nasty winter storm in the Upper Midwest. Heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain are making for a very messy Sunday over Wisconsin. To the south, strong thunderstorms will erupt along the cold front that now stretches through the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico.

Colorado will be chilly, but relatively quiet this afternoon, with just some scattered snow showers. The cold air will move to the east on Monday and much of the upcoming week will be mild and pleasant. Highs should bounce back into the 50s at lower elevations for Presidents' Day, with 20s and 30s in the mountains - making for a very nice day to ski.

The longer range forecast for late next weekend into the early part of March looks like we may return to a cold and snowy pattern. That is still 7 to 10 days away, so let's wait and see on that one.

Friday February 15, 2008 The storm system that brought cold and snow to the state on Valentine's Day has dropped into New Mexico and Texas. This storm will now swirl across the Lone Star State and roll through the Mississippi Valley this weekend. Strong thunderstorms will develop in Texas and Arkansas tomorrow and heavy snow will hit the upper midwest by Sunday.

Behind that storm the weather pattern is mellowing a bit. Aside from some occasional snowshowers in the mountains, Colorado can look forward to some pretty quiet and mild weather for the Presidents Day Weekend. Temperatures will moderate into next week and no major storm systems will be moving into the region. In fact, by Monday highs will be in the 50s at lower elevations and will likely stay there for most of next week.

Valentine's Day February 14, 2008 The cold front arrived on schedule late last night, delivering a lovely bouquet of icy, cold air and snow. The snow totals through mid-morning have been in the 2 to 3 inch range along the Front Range, with about double that in the foothills. Snow will continue for much of the day, tapering to flurries during the afternoon. The skies will clear tonight, with very cold temperatures to follow.

The biggest snow totals will be in the central ans southern mountain areas. Wolf Creek Pass should get another two feet of snow from this storm. The seasonal snowfall at Wolf Creek is already over 400 inches and there seems to be little relief in sight. To date, the average snowpack in the eastern San Juan Mountains is about 175% of average.

The other big story in weather is with the temperature. Yesterday was just a delight as the high reached 65 in Denver and near 70 degrees over the southeast plains. The cold front zipped across the plains between 9 PM and Midnight last night and quickly dropped temperatures by 15-20 degrees in about 30 minutes. The temperature tumble today will be from the 60s to the 20s - about a forty degree difference!

The cold and snow will not last too long, as the storm will slide to our southeast and skies will clear tonight. Friday will be mostly sunny and not as cold, with highs near 40. By Saturday, readings will rebound into the low 50s and the weather will stay relatively mild through the middle of next week.

By the way, today's storm will spin down into Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley this weekend and will create another outbreak of severe weather for the southern states on Sunday. A new outbreak of strong thunderstorms and tornadoes will be possible across the lower Mississippi Valley and the Tennessee Valley - places rocked by twisters just last week. To the north, sleet, freezing rain and snow will slick things up across the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes. What a winter!

It felt like Spring today along the Front Range with temperatures rising in the lower 60s, even close to 70 in the southeastern part of Colorado! That will change dramatically tonight with the passage of a cold front. Snow is expected to begin falling across Denver shortly before midnight tonight and continue to make for a nasty morning rush hour on Thursday. Snow advisories are effective through Tuesday evening as 3-6 inches of snow is expected with heavier amounts in the southern and western sections.

Valentine's Day will be a chilly one, but a good day to snuggle up with someone special. The mountains are half heartedly looking forward to another 1 to 2 feet of snow - many folks up there are getting tired of the bounty this winter.

How big can snowflakes get?

Snowflakes are agglomerates of many snow crystals. Most snowflakes are less than one-inch across. Under certain conditions, usually requiring near-freezing temperatures, light winds, and unstable, convective atmospheric conditions, much larger and irregular flakes close to two inches across in the longest dimension can form. No routine measure of snowflakes dimensions are taken, so the exact answer is not known.

Why is snow white?

Visible sunlight is white. Most natural materials absorb some sunlight which gives them their color. Snow, however, reflects most of the sunlight. The complex structure of snow crystals results in countless tiny surfaces from which visible light is efficiently reflected. What little sunlight is absorbed by snow is absorbed uniformly over the wavelengths of visible light thus giving snow its white appearence.

What causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?

Generally, snow and ice present us with a uniformly white face. This is because most all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back without any particular preference for a single color within the visible spectrum. The situation is different for that portion of the light which is not reflected but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events, that is, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. The observer sees the light coming back from the near surface layers (mm to cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times and it still appears white. However, the absorption is preferential. More red light is absorbed compared to blue. Not much more, but enough that over a considerable distance, say a meter or more, photons emerging from the snow layer tend to be made up of more blue light and red light. Typical examples are poking a hole in the snow and looking down into the hole to see blue light or the blue color associated with the depths of crevasses in glaciers. In each case the blue light is the product of a relatively long travel path through the snow or ice. So the spectral selection is related to absorption, and not reflection as is sometimes thought. In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through, but if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through.

Is it ever too cold to snow?

No, it can snow even at incredibly cold temperatures as long as the there is some source of moisture and some way to lift or cool the air. It is true, however, that most heavy snowfalls occur with relatively warm air temperatures near the ground - typically 15F or warmer since air can hold more water vapor at warmer temperatures.

More About Blue Snow and Ice.

It is a common misconception that the blue color exhibited by glaciers, old sea ice, or even holes poked into a snow bank is due to the same phenomenon that makes the sky blue-light scattering. But nature has more than one recipe for producing the color blue. In frozen water and in the sky the processes are almost the reverse of each other.

A blue sky results when light bounces off molecules and small dust particles in the atmosphere. Because blue light scatters more than red does, the sky looks blue except in the direction of the sun (particularly when the sun is near the horizon and the blue light is scattered out of the sunlight, leaving the red color of sunrises and sunsets).

When the light passes through ice, however, the red light is absorbed while the blue is transmitted. Were the operating process scattering as in the atmosphere, then the transmitted light would be red, not blue. However, because of the large size of snow grains and ice crystals, all wavelengths of visible light are scattered equally. Scattering therefore does not play an apperciable role in determining the color of the transmitted light.

It takes an appreciable thickness of pure ice to absorb enough red light so that only the blue is transmitted. You can see the effect in snow at fairly shallow depths because the light is bounced around repeatedly between ice grains, losing a little red at each bounce. You can even see a gradation of color within a hole poked in clean, deep snow. Near the opening, the tranmitted light will be yellowish. As the depth increases, the color will pass through yellowish-green, greenish-blue and finally vivid blue. If the hole is deep enough, the color and light disappear completely when all the light is absorbed.

The color of ice can be used to estimate its strength and even how long it has been frozen. Arctic Ocean ice is white during its first year because it is full of bubbles. Light will travel only a short distance before it is scattered by the bubbles and reflected back out. As a result, little absorption occurs, and the light leaves with the same color it had when it went in.

During the summer, the ice surface melts and new overlying ice layers compress the remaining air bubbles. Now, any light that enters travels a longer distance within the ice before it emerges. This gives red end of the spectrum space enough to be absorbed, and the light returned at the surface is blue.

Arctic explorers and mountain climbers know that old, blue ice with fewer bubbles is safer and stronger than white ice. An added bonus for explorers is knowing that floating camps built on blue ice will last longer.

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