DENVER — The National Weather Service has issued several winter weather alerts related to a Christmas Eve snowstorm that could bring more than a foot to parts of the Colorado Rockies and potentially a white Christmas to Denver.
Early Saturday, the NWS issued a winter storm watch for a large portion of the eastern plains down to Colorado Springs. It expires at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Winter storm warnings were issued for much of the San Juan Mountains as well as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southwestern and southern Colorado, respectively.
A winter weather advisory in place since Thursday was expanded late Friday to include a large swath of the Colorado Rockies.
The winter storm warnings were effective until 5 a.m. Christmas Eve. The larger winter weather advisory was put in place through 5 p.m. Sunday.
As much as 8-16 inches of snow are possible in southwestern Colorado, according to Denver7 meteorologist Stacey Donaldson. Four to 8 inches of snow were likely in other parts of the high country, she said.
The storm system is expected to bring widespread snow to the mountains Saturday, impacting travel throughout the day. It will likely begin as rain in the metro. As a cold front arrives Saturday night, it could turn into a mix and then all snowfall by Saturday night. The National Weather Service forecast discussion updated late Friday suggested snowfall in town will hold off until Saturday evening.
The heaviest snow will likely fall Sunday morning, with some isolated snow showers lingering through the day – possibly continuing during the Broncos’ Sunday night showdown with the New England Patriots at Empower Field at Mile High.
The National Weather Service said Friday morning that there was a 30% chance of snow Sunday night before 11 a.m.
In its forecast discussion updated Friday morning, the NWS said snow totals across the plains would likely be in the 1 to 4 inch range, though snow totals could change based on how quickly the storm moves through.
The totals could potentially bring a white Christmas – officially classified as an inch or more of snow on the ground – to Denver.
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Donaldson on Friday was calling for as much as 1-3 inches of snow in the Denver metro with 2-5 inches falling closer to the Palmer Divide. The foothills could see 3-6 inches, with 6-12 falling in the mountains, she said.
While totals could vary, it is very likely that at least some snow will fall in most places statewide, with slightly higher totals at higher elevations.
After the storm moves out, a windy and cold Tuesday is likely in store before temps jump back into the 40s by midweek.