5/20/22 Friday 1 pm
The cold front is semi-stalled/moving very slowly right at the base of the northern San Juans. Temperatures in Montrose are over 25 degrees cooler than in Durango (at noon). The front is going to take its time moving south. By the time it reaches Purgatory the small amount of precipitation accompanying the front will have fallen. I am not expecting any accumulating precipitation south of Purg but we will see. Further east closer to the action, Wolf Creek should pick up a couple of inches of snow, especially on the east side of the pass and down to Del Norte. Winds will dramatically increase as the front approaches.
Speaking of further east, rain is changing to snow in the far western suburbs of Denver along 470 west. Snow will pick up this afternoon and evening and the heaviest snow will fall from the Palmer Divide up to Highlands Ranch and Centennial. Snow will fall most of Saturday morning from Fort Collins down to the New Mexico border along the I25 corridor.
The elephant in the room is the extreme differences among the models for overnight lows by tomorrow morning. The GFS and NAM3km models show lows at DRO tomorrow morning 15 to 20 degrees lower than the Canadian and European models. So for all of you folks that have emailed me about protecting sensitive plants/vegetation, I would have to say hope for the best but plan for the worst. Chances are things will be fine, but take precautions if you want to be safe. In the mid and higher elevation areas especially north of 160 I would say if it were me, I would not take any chances. All I can say is that temperatures are running colder than expected and rain is changing to snow early than expected in Denver.
My next update will be Sunday morning. I will take an early peek at Memorial Day weekend. Let’s see, how long has it been since we had a little snow during the IHBC?? Thanks for following and supporting the site!