Another round of late-season snow will bury Wyoming and Colorado and bring a renewed threat of travel difficulties and closures through Friday.
Travel along interstates 25, 70 and 80 will be extremely dangerous, if not impossible, during the height of the storm. Significant delays and cancellations are possible at Denver International Airport.
“The heavy, wet snow combined with many trees that already have their leaves will result in potential downed branches, which could take down power lines and cause power outages,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.
A cold storm will sweep across the Rockies, triggering severe weather on its south and east side and heavy snow to the north and west.
Snow began with a vengeance over Wyoming and the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night and will continue to fall right through the end of the week.
“In the highest elevations, accumulations will be as high as 2 to 3 feet,” Adamson said.
Despite the storm beginning as rain in Denver, a change to all snow is likely by Friday. Before the snow winds down Friday evening, between 1 and 3 inches of snow can fall in the downtown area, with much higher totals over the foothills and Palmer Divide.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, is likely to receive around a foot or more of snow by the time the storm weakens. The city averages less than 3 inches of snow during the month of May.
“While it is a late-season snow event, both Cheyenne and Denver have had accumulating snow even into early June in the past, so snow is not completely unheard of at this time of the year,” Adamson said.
The last measurable snowfall (greater than 0.10 of an inch) in both cities was on April 29.
Motorists should be cautious of slushy and snow-packed roadways, especially in the higher elevations. The rate of snow may be too much for snow removal crews to keep roads clean.
People will need to use extreme caution when shoveling the heavy, wet snow to avoid serious injuries.
The snow will come to the delight of skiers who want to take advantage of the fresh powder at the Arapahoe Basin about 60 miles west of Denver, which is the only alpine ski area still open in Colorado. The resort will remain open into early June, according to ColoradoSki.com.
“Highs will be closer to what is normally seen during the middle of winter, with temperatures around 30 degrees below normal through Friday,” Adamson said.
Daytime temperatures that are typically in the lower 70s in Denver will struggle to reach 40 on Friday.
“Once this system goes through, a warming trend will begin and much of the snow will melt quickly, but temperatures will remain about 10 degrees below normal into early next week,” Adamson said.