Colorado will be sandwiched between a very cold air mass anchored over the Northern and Mid Western States and much warmer air over the Southwest. This tight temperature, or thermal, gradient, in the atmosphere will result in strong winds Friday into Saturday. During this time, the nearly stationary boundary between us and much colder, arctic air will remain to our northeast over Wyoming and Nebraska. This means that while it will be very windy, it should be dry and relatively mild for this time of the year. Weather models are showing sustained winds anywhere from 30 to 50 mph along the Colorado Front Range during this time, with gusts up to 70 mph likely. Needless to say, it has already been a windy year, and during La Nina winters when the storm track often sets up either over us or just to our north, strong winds are common. By later in the day on Saturday, a disturbance in the upper levels of the atmosphere will give the stationary front a nudge, pushing it to our south. Much colder air will filter into northeastern Colorado Saturday night and Sunday. Temperatures on Sunday will only be in the teens, but at least the winds will be lighter. A brief period of light snow or freezing drizzle is possible Saturday night, but accumulations should be insignificant.
If you are heading out for New Year’s Eve, bundle up as it will be cold along the Front Range. However, the topsy turvy weather for which Colorado is famous for will bring another round of milder temperatures for the first week of 2018.