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Bitter cold settling in, more snow falling through Thursday

Wind chills could reach -15 to -25 in NE Colorado overnight
i-70 in snow
Posted at 12:56 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 18:56:29-05

DENVER — Multiple advisories are in place for continued snow and bitter cold that Coloradans will experience for most of the week.

The National Weather Service in Boulder has issued a winter weather advisory from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Thursday for Rocky Mountain National Park, the Medicine Bow Range, the mountains of Summit County, the Mosquito Range and the Indian Peaks. Approximately 5 and 10 inches of snow is expected, with winds as high as 35 mph.

Temperatures are expected to fall below zero over the plains and foothills overnight.

A wind chill advisory is also in effect for portions of Elbert, Larimer, Weld and Douglas counties — as well as portions of east central and northeast Colorado — until noon Wednesday because wind chills could be as low as 25 below zero, which could cause frostbite in less than 30 minutes.

The snow and cold will continue over the next few days, NWS said. Snow will pick up again across the mountains and into the plains late Tuesday afternoon and evening, though it's expected to be fairly light — maybe an inch or so overnight into Wednesday.

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So far, under two inches of snow fell around the Denver metro area. Southwestern Colorado saw the highest recorded snowfall, with a foot reported in the San Juan Mountains.

MORE: Snow totals for Feb. 21-22, 2022, snowstorm in Colorado

In addition to the snow, highs on Tuesday have only reached 7 degrees at Denver International Airport as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, which should hold and break a daily record cold maximum temperature — 13 degrees in 1913 — according to NWS.

There may be another quick break in the snowfall Wednesday morning before another round of light to moderate snow Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. Through Wednesday night, the mountains could see an additional 5-10 inches of snow. Snowfall looks light for Wednesday across the I-25 corridor with little to no snow for the eastern plains.

Temperatures should warm into the low to mid teens on Wednesday and the upper teens Thursday. The snow will taper off by Thursday and temperatures will gradually warm Friday and into the weekend.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center on Monday said the snowfall will cause avalanche conditions to deteriorate. An avalanche watch is in effect as of Monday at 4:15 p.m. for the Aspen and Gunnison zones, and other zones will likely fall under a watch on Tuesday, CAIC said.

Natural avalanche activity is expected, and there have been 41 human-triggered avalanches in the last seven days.

Colorado’s statewide snowpack sat at 92% of median Tuesday. Four of the eight river basins were at or just below median levels as of Tuesday's data — Gunnison (100%), the South Platte (99%), Laramie and North Platte (98%), and Upper Colorado Headwaters (96%).

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The San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan (88%), Yampa and White (87%), Arkansas (83%), and Upper Rio Grande (82%) basins were all slightly below median levels.

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