Colorado weather: Winter storm warning in Denver, heavy snow ahead

A “significant” snowstorm is on track to hit the Denver area Tuesday evening, bringing heavy snowfall with totals possibly reaching over a foot.

A Winter Storm warning has been issued for the Interstate 25 Urban Corridor and the northeast plains which will last from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Wednesday for the storm which forecasters at the National Weather Service in Boulder called near-extreme.

Several forecast values suggested “the current forecast is near the extreme of the model climatology for this time of year,” one meteorologist at the National Weather Service said. “Though northeast Colorado is certainly no stranger to heavy snowfall events, it is quite rare to see this much snow & moisture in the forecast for mid-January.”

Forecasters Tuesday morning increased possible snowfall totals in the Urban Corridor and Front Range foothills.

One forecast graph shows about 10 inches of snow as the expected accumulation for Denver, Aurora and the southern suburbs, but it could be as high as 15 or 16 inches respectively. There is about a 17% chance Denver will get over 12 inches of snow, forecasters said.

Western Denver suburbs could expect anywhere from seven to 10 inches, with about 14 inches as the highest possible.

Forecasters expected the snow to start in the late evening Tuesday, impacting the tail end of the evening commute, then picking up strength Tuesday night, with the heaviest snow expected to fall Wednesday morning during the morning commute.

The snow will then taper off into Wednesday afternoon.

“Persons should delay travel if possible,” forecasters said of Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning travel. “If travel is necessary, drive with extreme caution and be prepared for sudden changes in visibility. Leave plenty of room between you and the motorist ahead of you, and allow extra time to reach your destination. Avoid sudden braking or acceleration, and be especially cautious on hills or when making turns. Make sure your car is winterized and in good working order.”

Most affected areas will begin to see moderate travel impacts between 6 p.m. and midnight Tuesday. Between midnight and 6 a.m. Wednesday, metro Denver and the northeast plains will see “major” travel impacts which will last through at least noon for Denver and through 6 p.m. for the plains.

Travelers are also advised to have emergency winter kits in their vehicles, as temperatures during the storm will be frigid.

Tuesday night’s low is 25 degrees, then the Wednesday high is 30 degrees. Wednesday’s low will be 13 degrees.

Denver will see gradual improvement throughout the evening Wednesday.

After Wednesday, mostly dry and quiet weather is expected through the weekend, except for a slight snow chance Friday night.

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