Colorado weather: Hurricane-force winds expected with incoming storm

Colorado’s next winter storm is currently burying the Sierra Nevada mountains in California under 50 to 80 inches of snow with 60 mph to 70 mph winds. Energy from that storm is going to eject itself from the flow and zoom across the country — and Colorado is in its path.

The bout of energy that will move through will begin to impact Colorado on Tuesday. Snow showers are expected across the San Juan mountains from Tuesday to Wednesday with the heaviest of snow expected overnight into Wednesday.

Snow

All mountains in Colorado are expecting snow from this quick-moving system, but the San Juans should benefit the most in regards to total snow.

Winter storm alerts are posted for the San Juans in anticipation of this event. Up to 16 inches may fall on the highest, most favored peaks. Other mountain locations from the Elk Range to the Park Range are expecting 2 to 6 inches of snow. The Front Range mountains and the Rampart Range are expecting 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow by the end of the day on Wednesday.

There is not much snow expected east of the mountains with this system. However, there could be some snowflakes at times as we will have a very quick window of moisture to contend with Wednesday morning so don’t be shocked if a few flakes are around.

Wind

The biggest story east of the mountains will be the winds.

This is a very powerful system blowing onshore and although it’ll lose some of its strength, it will still bring powerful winds. High wind warnings are posted for all of eastern Colorado from Pueblo to Fort Collins to Limon — including metro Denver.

In the San Juan mountains, as this storm blows through, 75 mph to 80 mph winds are possible. Hurricane-force winds begin at 74 mph and go up from there. Tropical-storm-force winds start at 39 mph and go to 73 mph. So, for the majority of Coloradans, tropical-storm-force winds are expected.

Winds of this magnitude can be dangerous to high-profile vehicles. These are strong enough winds to knock down trees and cause power outages. Be sure to bring in any loose items outside such as trash cans, toys and other items that aren’t secured.

This storm will come with cooler weather across the state. Highs will drop down to around seasonable norms for Wednesday and Thursday with another shot of cold air coming for Friday and Saturday.

There is no significant snow in the forecast for Denver or any Interstate 25 locations in the near term. While the excitement of getting our first “official” snow in Denver was fun, the city is still lacking snow by over a foot and is continuing to see worsening drought conditions. This wind storm is the best Mother Nature can provide for us.

Andy Stein is a freelance meteorologist.

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