Snowstorm to create hazardous travel, threaten power outages in Rockies, High Plains through Sunday Night
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
October 14, 2018, 10:06:26 PM EDT
Heavy snowfall will spread southward over the Rockies and High Plains into early Monday morning.
The air will get cold enough to create slippery travel even outside of the high country and the passes from Wyoming to northern New Mexico and northwestern Texas. Motorists should expect wintry conditions along portions of I-25, I-70 and I-80.
Much to the delight of skiers, over a foot of snow may fall on some of the eastern slopes of the Rockies.
Where leaves have not fallen off the trees over portions of the High Plains and foothills, there is the risk of tree limbs breaking and sporadic power outages.
Airline delays are likely at Denver and secondary hubs in the region, due to aircraft deicing operations that will evolve as the storm gets underway.
In some cases, the snow will stick to the roads, and in other cases, snow that initially melts on the roads may freeze, unless treated by ice-melting compounds.
As of Sunday morning, roadway delays were being reported across eastern Nebraska, northern Colorado and much of Wyoming.
Snow began to fall in Montana Saturday and spread southward into Wyoming, bringing a picturesque blanket of snow. The snow reached Cheyenne, Wyoming, during Saturday evening.
The snow has also led to travel disruptions, with a portion of I-25 from Cheyenne to the Colorado state line forced to close.
13-OCT-2018 21:03 - I25 the CO State Line - Cheyenne: Closed BOTH DIR due to winter conditions. As of Oct 13 at 21:02, the est open time is unknown. #wyoroad— Wyoming DOT (@WYDOT_I25) October 14, 2018
In Colorado, snow or a rain and snow mix will spread southward through Sunday. During the same time, snow is forecast to cover the landscape in parts of Nebraska and Kansas.
Snow will also whiten the landscape of Nebraska, southeast South Dakota and southern Minnesota to end the weekend.
This will likely be enough snow to cause some slow travel and cautious drivers through Sunday.
Accumulating snow continued in Denver into Sunday afternoon. Travel to the afternoon NFL game between the Rams and Broncos may be difficult with a storm total of 3-6 inches anticipated with temperatures expected to be in the 20s much of the day.
Record low temperatures are forecast to follow the storm.
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"Temperatures are forecast to dip to lower levels in Denver, than it has been thus far this autumn in Utqiagvik, Alaska," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler.
Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, is on the northernmost tip of Alaska.
Up to a few inches of snow is forecast to fall on Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colorado, as well as Garden City and Dodge City, Kansas, on Sunday.
A few inches of snow are possible in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Dalhart, Texas, during Sunday night to early Monday morning.
Motorists should be prepared for icy spots as temperatures plummet during and after the storm.
As cold air continues to spread southward and eastward, temperatures will be slashed by 20-40 degrees over parts of central and southern Texas and the southern Plains by early this week.
Farther north, the air will reinforce the already chilly conditions over the northern Plains and Upper Midwest this week.
Early-season snow is no stranger to Denver and much of the Rockies and High Plains. On Oct. 6, close to an inch of snow fell on Denver with 1-2 feet of snow falling on parts of the Rockies.
Some of the biggest snowstorms have occurred in the autumn and spring in the region, and snowfall tends to fall on a fairly consistent basis from October through April at and above this elevation in the western United States, especially within and along the eastern slopes of the Rockies.
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