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 AccuWeather.com for the latest updates on this potential dangerous and disruptive winter storm.

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