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Widespread, hazardous travel in Denver through Saturday morning

Denver could see between 2-5 inches of snowfall, areas west will see higher snow totals
Posted: 1:31 PM, Nov 23, 2023
Updated: 2023-11-24 10:05:38-05
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DENVER – If you’re heading out Friday or returning from Thanksgiving plans expect slick and hazardous driving conditions on Colorado roadways.

A winter storm warning is in effect through Friday afternoon for the northern foothills and the Front Range mountains, including Estes Park, Glen Haven, Drake, and Poudre Park, where four to 10 inches of snow is likely, according to Denver7 meteorologist Lisa Hidalgo.

Weather service officials said travel may become very difficult due to heavy snowfall on roadways in those areas, potentially impacting return travel following Thanksgiving.

If you’re going to be anywhere in the warned area, forecasters said you should consider delaying travel. If you cannot for whatever reason, you’re advised to drive with extreme caution and have a winter storm kit along with you for the ride.

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Denverites and everyone else across parts of central, east central and northeast Colorado are under a winter weather advisory through 5 a.m. Saturday. Between 2 and 6 inches of snow is expected around the Denver metro area from this storm along with winds gusting as high as 35 mph, according to Hidalgo.

Forecasters said roads will likely become slick and hazardous by the time you’re enjoying dinner with family, and the hazardous road conditions will impact the Friday morning and evening commutes. Weather service officials advise allowing extra time to reach your destination if you’re heading out anywhere.

City officials in Denver said Wednesday plow drivers will be on standby during the day on Thursday and will work the overnight shift Thursday night into Friday morning to clear snow and drop deicer as needed.

"Residents headed out for Black Friday shopping should be aware that they’ll likely encounter winter weather conditions," city officials said in a news release. "We urge them to take their time and drive slowly, especially when approaching intersections, and use caution on bridges and overpasses."

Warming centers have also been activated by the city, so anyone looking to get warm can go to any of the city's recreation centers during regular business hours on Friday to get cozy.

Snow lovers will have to exercise a bit of patience – “much like the patience required to let the turkey rest and ensure a juicy, succulent bite” – before the snow arrives though, as there could be a period of freezing drizzle Thursday evening before snow begins to fill in along the foothills and adjacent plains this evening, weather service officials wrote in their forecast discussion.

Higher snow totals are expected on the west side of the metro area from Golden to Arvada, into Lakewood and up to Boulder and Longmont, Hidalgo said Thursday morning. Those areas have a 50/50 chance of seeing more than 6 inches of snow by the time all is said and done, but forecasters said amounts may be lower in the end if a downward trend in the models continue.

“It’s important to emphasize that snowfall will be most efficient closer to the base of the foothills, with intensity and accumulations tapering off significantly as you move east towards I-25 and particularly east of that, especially in and near the Denver metro,” weather service officials wrote.

Lastly, a winter storm watch is in effect for the eastern plains due to the chance for 4-8 inches of snow from late Friday night through Saturday evening, Hidalgo said.

NWS-STORM SNOW TOTALS through 5 pm nov 23 - 25 2023.jpeg

While there will be periods of lighter snow and flurries through Friday morning for the metro, only the far east eastern plains are expected to see light snow prevail through the afternoon, according to the NWS officials in Boulder.

In the mountains, expect scattered light snow showers during the day before the area potentially sees more widespread light snow by Friday night, they added.

“Travel impacts will likely be limited in most of our forecast area by the time we reach Friday afternoon due to decreased snow rates,” weather service officials said, “however, road temperatures are still forecast to stay mostly under freezing, and periods of light snow will continue through at least Friday night.”

Temperatures will be quite cold through the remainder of the week into at least Saturday, forecasters said.

High temperatures will not reach freezing, and in fact hold in the 20s for both Friday and Saturday. Lows Saturday night will drop into the single digits, with below zero readings in mountain valleys as long as we clear out.

Skies will gradually clear out through the weekend. We'll see more sunshine and highs in the 30s on Sunday, Hidalgo said.

Snow for tonight and tomorrow with arctic air

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