Denver, Plains: Snow to Cause Major Interstate Interruptions

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
April 16, 2013; 9:09 AM ET
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Play video A look at the weather in store for the northern Plains and Rockies.

As the first round of a major, late-season winter storm winds down across Denver and the High Plains of eastern Colorado, the second round is waiting right on its heels.

Snow on Monday fell mainly from Colorado Springs northward to Fort Collins. The lightest snow fell south of Denver. Areas between Colorado Springs and Denver had as little as nothing to as much as 6-8 inches in Denver itself. The heaviest snow was focused just north and west of Denver, with 12-18 inches falling between Boulder and Fort Collins.

This snow shifted northward into southern Wyoming on Monday night, and the heaviest snow on Tuesday will be focused across southern Wyoming and far western Nebraska. Snowfall accumulations of 12-18 inches are possible in locations such as Laramie and Cheyenne.

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Those who expect to travel on interstate 80 from western Nebraska into southeastern Wyoming will likely have to deal with extremely dangerous conditions throughout Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Farther south, only light snow and flurries will occur on Tuesday in the Front Range cities from Denver to Fort Collins. Additional snowfall amounts through Tuesday night will generally be less than an inch, though 1-3 inches will fall across the Foothill cities.

On Wednesday, the second round of this major winter storm will take shape across eastern Colorado. A powerful low pressure system that will spark a major severe weather outbreak in the Plains will also deliver heavy snow to eastern Colorado.

Additional snowfall on Wednesday along the major Front Range cities from Denver to Fort Collins will average 6-12 inches. Between Denver and Castle Rock, additional snowfall will reach 3-6 inches.

Very heavy snow will fall across the Foothills west of Denver and Fort Collins. Places such as Eldorado Springs, Crescent, Wallstreet, Jamestown, Nederland, Ward and Estes Park, to name a few, will have another 12-18 inches or more.

The second round of this storm will also impact the Plains of eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. Locations from Greeley and Sterling in Colorado, northeastward to Scottsbluff and Chadron in Nebraska could have an additional 3-6 inches.

Eventually, areas across central and eastern South Dakota into northern Minnesota will even see snowfall of 3-6 inches. This includes cities such as Pierre, Fargo and Duluth.

Major travel disruptions are expected to continue through Wednesday night and possibly even Thursday. Snow will fall at close to 2 inches per hour at times, and when combined with wind gusts of 30-40 mph, travel will become very dangerous, if not impossible, along parts of Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming.

Similar dangerous travel is along Interstate 76 in northeastern Colorado and Interstate 25 from Denver to Cheyenne, especially on Wednesday.

If you must travel, be sure to have a winter weather survival kit with you in your vehicle.

This kit should include a flashlight, blankets, hand warmers, food and water, flares and a snow shovel.

This will be a long-duration storm with snow of varying intensity that will not come to an end until Wednesday night and Thursday.

Stay with for the latest updates on this potential dangerous and disruptive winter storm.


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This Day In Weather History

Northeast (1950)
Great Appalachian Storm (24th-26th) developed greatest wind force, deepest snow, most severe early-season cold in history of the Northeast: 18.8 inches of snow at Akron, OH; Youngstown, OH, had a maximum 24-hour snowfall of 20.7 inches and a maximum single storm total of 28.7 inches; Steubenville, OH, had a maximum single storm total of 36.3 inches; Pittsburgh, PA, had a maximum 24-hour snowfall of 20.1 inches and a maximum single storm total of 27.7 inches; and Charleston, WV had a maximum 24-hour snowfall of 15.1 inches and a maximum single storm total of 25.6 inches. At coastal stations such as Newark and Boston single-minute wind speeds in excess of 80 mph were registered. There was a 108 mph gust at Newark. Peak gusts of 110 were noticed at Concord, NH; 108 mph at Newark, NJ; and 100 mph at Hartford, CT. Atop Mt. Washington, a wind gust of 160 mph hit from the southeast early on the 26th. Central Park, in the heart of sheltered Manhattan Island, set an 80-year record of 70 mph.

Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton (1971)
Heavy snowfall in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. It started to snow the night before, and by about noon Thanksgiving Day 11/25/71, 20.5 inches of snow was reported on the ground at the Avoca, PA airport. Some of the surrounding areas had even more snow. Dallas, PA, had 27 inches and parts of the Poconos had as much as 30 inches. Barn roofs collapsed, power lines were downed, and tree branches were broken. The majority of the snow fell within 12 hours.

AL/GA/FL (1979)
A dozen tornadoes across these states.