After an extended period of unseasonably mild and dry weather, winter-like conditions are expected to return to the Colorado Front Range. The first in a series of spring time storms will begin to affect the area Thursday afternoon. Thursday morning will be breezy and still mild. Temperatures will begin to cool during the afternoon as a cold front sags southward across the state. An upper level storm will track along the Colorado/New Mexico border Thursday night and Friday. At the same time a surface low will develop over southeastern Colorado. The forecast models have been hinting that the heaviest precipitation will fall south of Nederland in the foothills and Front Range south of I-70 and along the Palmer Divide. There are several components which make this a tricky forecast for Nederland and the surrounding foothills communities:
- Where the cold front eventually stalls and become stationary
- Where the surface low forms
- How quickly the surface low strengthens
While the track of the upper low is good for bringing much needed precipitation to the area, surface lows which form too far out on the Eastern Plains and strengthen quickly can actually result in winds from the northwest in Nederland which results in less precipitation. Also, this storm is warm. Freezing levels will likely be between 6000 – 7000 feet. That means mostly rain will fall on the plains and a wetter snowfall in Nederland. Lastly, the ground is really warm. Some of the snow is going to melt before really starting to accumulate.
All this said, the potential does exist for 4-8 inches of snow in Nederland by midday Friday. This will be much welcome moisture and will help alleviate some of the fire danger.
As always, check out the National Weather Service’s snowfall probabilities product: