Snow forecast: potentially historic snowfall for Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado, including Denver


More than 5 million people in this region are on winter weather alert.

The latest weather models clearly show areas of snow accumulating 20 to 40 inches deep along the foothills and front beach from Denver to Cheyenne.

Due to elevation differences, we will see less snow east of Interstate 25 and much more at higher elevations to the west.

The heaviest snow in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska can arrive in March, when the air is slightly warmer and can hold more moisture and snow potential. Denver is no stranger to major snowstorms in March, with the top 10 snowstorms in March each totaling more than a foot of snowfall.

This weekend’s snowstorm has a “medium to high potential exceed the heavy snow event of March 23, 2016, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. That day, it snowed 13.1 inches in Denver. NWS Boulder gives a “low to medium potential to approach the historic snowstorm of March 2003”, which dumped 2-4 feet of snow across the area.
Check the weather forecast for your area.

Storms and forecasts like these – especially potentially historic ones – cause meteorologists to lose sleep at night.

The biggest obstacle to this forecast is the path of the storm. Forecast snowfall amounts can still change significantly if the storm moves north or south of the current projection.

Suppose the track of this low is 100 miles further north than expected. In this case, Denver will only have minor accumulations … a trail further south would push the snow totals even higher.

Since this storm is only moving across the California coast right now, anything is possible.

We often see side-by-side comparisons of the “American model” versus the “European model”. They both have extended range forecasts of up to 10 days or more.

The two models agreed to be at odds for most of this storm’s history. The American model showed more snow potential than the European model for several days, sometimes double.

The closer we get to Saturday, the more accurate the weather models will become. Hopefully they come to the same conclusion so that the forecast can have extreme accuracy.

Impossible trip

This storm will cause fatal conditions. Any displacement during the height of the storm could have dire consequences.

NWS Boulder is forecast “Snowfall rates of nearly 3 inches per hour in the foothills on Saturday night, meaning travel would be impossible.”

Heavy snow will combine with strong winds to sometimes create whiteout conditions.

Due to the enormous size of this storm, it is important to realize that the potential impacts extend beyond Colorado but also Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.

“We envision breaking many snowfall records and major to extreme impacts over southeastern Wyoming and Nebraska,” said NWS Cheyenne.

By the end of the snowfall on Monday, this high-impact storm will have crippled some cities and highways.

It will be an important event that touches people, livestock and pets … now is the time to prepare.

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