Colorado braces for snow: Skiers delight but slippery roads ahead

Snow will continue in Colorado through Saturday morning. As the setup on Saturday will demonstrate, a major storm is unnecessary for a significant accumulation in the Rockies. Enough snow will fall to delight snow sports enthusiasts but make for slippery travel over the mountains. There's a chance roads could get dicey in part of the Denver metro area as well, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

The snow will unfold as an area of high pressure slides southeastward across the Great Plains. As the pressure rose, it created a northeasterly flow of air that climbed thousands of feet from the Plains to the Colorado Front Range. As this air ascended, it cooled, and moisture condensed, releasing some rain at first but then a change to snow.

Several inches to a foot of snow will fall on parts of the northern and central Rockies in Colorado through early Saturday. A few inches of snow will also extend out to the foothills west of Denver and other metro areas along the Interstate 25 corridor of northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.

"Anyone traveling from the High Plains to the mountains early Saturday morning for a weekend getaway could encounter slippery roads and travel delays," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said. This includes travel along portions of I-70 and I-80.


Downtown Denver will likely pick up a general 3-6 inches of snow, mainly on non-paved surfaces into Saturday morning.

Farther to the north, in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, 1-3 inches of slushy snow will also fall, with locally higher amounts possible.

Travel along much of the I-25 corridor will be wet to slushy, but there will be some exceptions.

Areas made wet by the slushy snow and natural melting during the day Saturday will freeze Saturday night.

By Sunday afternoon, much warmer conditions will build over the region, with any leftover snow prone to rapid melting. Temperatures are forecast to surge well into the 60s in Denver and Fort Collins. Widespread highs in the 70s are in store for Monday as warm air building west of the Rockies expands eastward.

Farther south, only a small slushy accumulation seems likely in Colorado Springs, Colorado, into Saturday morning.

Snow is not uncommon during April along the High Plains, Foothills and Rockies. Denver, which is about a mile above sea level, historically averages about 9 inches of snow in April, according to the National Weather Service. Some years even bring a bit of snow in May, when the historical average is 1-2 inches. Denver tends to receive more snow in the spring than it does during the middle of the winter.

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