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More red flag warnings Monday for SE Colorado; cold front to bring snow to mountains

Windy, dry conditions across eastern Colorado Monday ahead of cold front
Pueblo Fire Department wildfire efforts
Posted at 11:52 AM, Apr 11, 2022

DENVER – Red flag warnings are in effect for most of the southern Colorado and far eastern Colorado into Monday evening after several wildfires burned in both areas on Sunday. In the mountains, snow is expected starting Monday night and going into Wednesday.

The red flag warnings went into effect at 11 a.m. and noon for nearly all of southeastern Colorado, from Saguache east to Kansas, and north to Yuma County, including eastern El Paso County and southern Elbert and Lincoln counties, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. High wind watches and warnings are also in effect for the same areas.

Fires burned Sunday in Teller County, near Wiggins, in northwest Pueblo and in El Paso County, though evacuations for all the fires had been lifted by Monday morning, partially fueled by gusty winds.

More red flag warnings Monday for SE Colorado; cold front to bring snow to mountains

In southern Colorado and on the far eastern plains, winds out of the southwest are expected to be 35-45 mph, with gusts up to 60-70 mph.

And in the metro area and other parts of the plains, there is still elevated fire conditions, though no warnings or watches were issued. Still, wind gusts are expected to be 15-30 mph across the metro area on Monday, to accompany relative humidity levels in the teens.

Meanwhile, clouds are developing in the mountains ahead of a cold front that will bring snow to the high country through Wednesday afternoon starting Monday evening.

Winter weather advisories go into effect starting at 9 p.m. for the Front Range mountains and Middle Park area, and a winter storm warning is in effect for the Park Range and eastern Sawatch and San Juan mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

A cold front will move from northwest Colorado to the southeast on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, heavy bands of snow could bring up to 2 inches of snow per hour in parts of the mountains. The snow is expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon, according to the NWS.

Accompanying the front will be winds up to 60 mph, so whiteout conditions could be possible, the NWS said. By Wednesday evening, the Park Range could see 8-16 inches; the Front Range mountains 6-12 inches; and Middle Park area could see 3-7 inches of snow.

The cold front is expected to move through Denver between 8 and 10 a.m. Tuesday but is not expected to bring much precipitation.

Colorado’s snowpack reached its median peak on Friday, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It sat at 88% of median as of Monday. It’s not yet clear whether the incoming storm will boost the snowpack back above median levels.

All eight of Colorado’s river basins were below median snowpack levels as of Sunday. The Arkansas (97%), Gunnison (96%), Upper Colorado Headwaters (94%), Upper Rio Grande (93%) and South Platte (90%) basins were all slightly below median levels.

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Colorado's snowpack levels across the eight statewide basins as of Sunday, April 10, 2022.

The Laramie and North Platte (89%), San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan (87%), and Yampa and White (79%) basins were all slightly further below median levels.

Colorado’s drought conditions improved slightly last week compared to the week before, as about 2% of the state moved from extreme drought to moderate drought conditions. Nearly 83% of the state is still experiencing moderate or worse drought, with the metro area, most of Pitkin County, and parts of Mesa and Gunnison counties abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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