Denver Snowstorm Threatens Travel Disruptions, Power Outages

October 25, 2011; 6:00 PM ET
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Snow began falling and covering elevated and grassy surfaces near Denver Tech Center late Tuesday evening. Photo courtesy of Meteorologist Heather Buchman.

A tree-bending, travel-disrupting snowstorm is under way in Denver and other cities along the I-25 corridor.

Monday's sunshine and record 80-degree warmth will be replaced with several inches of snow, brisk winds, clouds and highs in the 30s Wednesday.

The snow will threaten to cause power outages through Wednesday. Trees across the Denver area are still full of foliage. The snow will cling to and weigh down branches as the temperature dips.

Tuesday has been transition day in Colorado, starting off mild with sunshine but ending much cooler with clouds and light rain. Light snow started falling in the high country Tuesday afternoon along portions of I-70.

Rain then changed over to snow in the Mile High City Tuesday night and will continue through Wednesday, making for a slow morning and afternoon commute.

The good news is that it's early in the season, and the roads are relatively warm in the wake of the 80-degree temperatures. "A lot of the snow will melt as it falls, but not all of it," stated Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

The Winter Weather Center is predicting 6 to 10 inches of snow for Denver with the greatest amounts toward the foothills. Most of that accumulation will be on grassy surfaces rather than roads.

That is not to say there will be no disruptions to travel. Commuters can still expect a slow go along the major I-25, I-70 and I-225 corridors and should allow extra time to get to work and other activities.

During Wednesday, the temperature may hold steady or even fall a few degrees.

"Untreated roads that were originally wet will become slushy and slippery. The first places to become slick will be bridges and overpasses," Sosnowski added.

Airport delays are likely to develop at Denver International with ripple effects across the country.

Weather conditions and impacts are expected to be similar for Colorado Springs, Boulder and Fort Collins, Colo., as well as in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Accumulations will generally increase from east to west, becoming higher closer to the foothills.

Travel problems will be more significant in the Colorado Rockies, where snow will be heavier and temperatures will be lower. Snow is expected to total 6 to 12 inches in the mountains and foothills with the high country picking up several feet.

While the snow will create travel headaches, it's a joy for skiers. Several ski resorts have already opened in the Colorado Rockies, and a foot of fresh snow will make for great conditions on the slopes.

The storm will move out Wednesday night, with sunshine returning Thursday. Temperatures will rebound as well with highs going from the lower 50s Thursday to 60s and lower 70s by Saturday.

Denver set a new record Monday with the high temperature reaching 80° F. The previous record for the date was 79°, last set in 1999.

October snowstorms are not unusual for Denver. The video below was taken after a winter storm hit right before Halloween in 2009.

Video posted on YouTube by user gamtrak


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