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Colorado Thanksgiving week forecast: What to expect traveling weather-wise

Thanksgiving travelers expect favorable conditions on highways as dry weather settles in before the holiday, but not before light snow accumulates in the mountains and mostly rain falls in Denver.
Posted: 8:45 AM, Nov 19, 2023
Updated: 2023-11-19 10:55:15-05
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DENVER — Thanksgiving travelers through Colorado should expect mostly favorable conditions on state highways and interstates as dry weather settles in before the holiday, but not before light snow accumulates in the mountains and mostly rain falls in Denver Sunday night into Monday.

“Later on clouds and wind will increase and it’ll be blustery through this evening,” said Denver7 meteorologist Katie LaSalle. “Light rain is expected in the Denver metro area, we’ll see some rain-snow showers it looks like into early tomorrow morning, and snow in the mountains continues before a colder storm is set to roll in by the end of this upcoming week.”

The National Weather Service in Boulder issued a winter weather advisory for parts of the Northern Sangre de Cristo Mountains where there could be snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches and gusty winds. The winter weather advisory goes into effect 5 p.m. on Sunday through 11 p.m. Monday.

A winter weather advisory will also go into effect for La Garita and the eastern San Juan Mountains for elevations above 10,000 feet where snow of up to 6 inches could accumulate. That advisory lasts from 11 a.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.

Most of the day will be nice in the Denver area with above-average temperatures in terms of the daytime high, reaching nearly 60 degrees in Denver before a noticeable change by the 6:20 p.m. kickoff for the Broncos vs. Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High.

“You might want to bring the rain gear along. A chance for showers off and on and it’ll be light to moderate rain shower activity, not a lot of heavy moisture with this system at least for the Front Range and Plains,” said LaSalle.

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While some slick conditions are possible on higher mountain roads, the NWS said the rain/snow shower mix would only bring light accumulations across the Palmer Divide.

“Up and down the I-25 corridor at 10 p.m. tonight you’ll see rain here in town with temperatures in the 40s by that point and we could see some light rain and snow into early tomorrow morning,” said LaSalle. “But it’s really going to be just wet roadways out there expected for Denver with more snow accumulating east of the Divide in places like Rocky Mountain National Park, Frisco, and Keystone, so great news for our Colorado ski resorts.”

Looking ahead into the Thanksgiving holiday week in Colorado, on Monday we’ll see morning flurries with the low temp dropping to the freezing mark before warming only to around 47 degrees in Denver.

Warmer temps rebound for a couple of days with Tuesday’s conditions showing mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 54 degrees in Denver. Even warmer conditions for Wednesday, reaching 65 degrees by the afternoon.

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If you’re planning on traveling through Colorado for your Thanksgiving plans, the good news is it will be dry Tuesday through Thursday on I-70 in the mountains, with favorable driving conditions across the state including in the I-25 corridor and Colorado’s plains.

While Thanksgiving will be dry in the state, a cooler airmass will sweep through dropping temps across Colorado from the recent unseasonable warm conditions.

Denver’s weather on Thanksgiving Day shows chilly and mostly cloudy conditions only warming up to 45 degrees with the NWS adding Tuesday through Wednesday might be a good day to put up the Christmas tree before the next chance of snow arrives Friday.

For Thanksgiving travelers planning on heading back home Friday, a more widespread snow system is expected to move into Colorado Friday causing some potential road impacts.

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The NWS said this far out there was still some uncertainty around timing and snowfall amounts in the state.

“General consensus on a period of colder temperatures and a more widespread light snow event for Thursday night and Friday,” said the NWS in its forecast discussion.

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