Snowstorm to blanket Rockies before eyeing Texas

·4 min read

A winter storm diving southward across the Rocky Mountains Tuesday will continue to produce a wide swath of several inches of snow along with teeth-chattering conditions. This storm has caused slippery travel conditions in cities such as Denver and reduced visibility across some major highways. However, heavy snow in a narrow corridor across western Kansas and far eastern Colorado has produced localized snowfall amounts over a foot, and has shut down a portion of Interstate 70.

"A stationary front extending southward from southwestern Canada will bring rounds of snow to the northern and central Rockies into Tuesday night," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer. A stationary front occurs when the forward motion of a cold front slows and stalls.

The storm began to push out of Canada on Monday, bringing snow to places like Calgary, Alberta, before reaching Billings and Missoula, Montana, and Rapid City, South Dakota. After nightfall, the snow continued traveling southward into places like Casper and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

"The higher elevations of the Colorado Rockies are expected to record snowfall amounts of 3-6 inches, with lower amounts of 1-3 inches across southeastern Wyoming, eastern Colorado, southwestern Nebraska, western Kansas and northeastern New Mexico," Smithmyer said.

Accumulations on the order of 3-6 inches of snow are also expected across portions of western Kansas, including Dodge City. However a narrow and nearly stationary band of very heavy snow along the front in western Kansas and far eastern Colorado will bring localized snowfall totals of 1-2 feet through Tuesday afternoon.

A nearly stationary band of very heavy snow (dark blue) is seen on radar Tuesday afternoon.

In Wyoming, the bulk of this week's snow fell through Monday night, with Cheyenne picking up around 3 inches of snow across the city as of early Tuesday morning. Residents of Casper encountered a bit less snow, with totals in the city of an inch or two. This pales in comparison to the nearly 7 inches of snow Casper reported last Friday when a storm pushed out of the Pacific Northwest and across Wyoming.

"Residents in Denver will notice a drop in temperature between Monday and Tuesday," said Smithmyer, adding that the temperature on Monday reached 44 degrees Fahrenheit, which falls just a degree lower than the city's average for this time of year.

Snow began falling by sunrise on Tuesday in Denver and by midday totals had reached around 5 inches, with a total of 6-8 inches expected by the time it ends in the afternoon, accompanied by temperatures struggling to reach the upper 20s, which is well below normal. On Tuesday night, temperatures could fall into the lower teens, at least 5 degrees below the average of 19 F.

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After the sun falls on Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Tuesday, snow is expected to arrive across the northern tier of the state. On Wednesday morning, residents of Santa Fe may wake up to 1-2 inches of snow on the ground along with lingering flurries early as the storm turns towards northern Texas.

Amarillo, Texas, could receive 2-4 inches of snow from this storm, while Lubbock, Texas, can expect anywhere from a dusting to an inch of snow from Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Those traveling across interstates 25, 27, 40, 70, 76 or 80 should be aware of diminishing visibility and slippery roadways as snow coats the highways. Bridges and overpasses are typically going to become dangerous first, but if enough snow falls, any road can become hazardous.

Denver typically receives about 6.5 inches of snow throughout the month of January, and the Mile High City has already reported 5.6 inches, mainly from a snowstorm that occurred toward the beginning of the month on Jan. 5 and 6. With this storm, Denver has blown past this average.

Last year, the city received just over 3 inches of snow during the month of January, and in 2020, the city didn't even receive an inch. This year doesn't come close, however, to the snowiest January on record in 1992, when 25 inches fell, nor is it as low as in 2003 when it only snowed 0.3 of an inch.

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