Plunge of cold air to trigger snow, slippery travel over Rockies and High Plains on Saturday

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 17, 2018, 5:16:45 PM EST

Snow and slippery travel will plunge southward with cold air across the Rockies and High Plains into Saturday.

A surge of cold air from central Canada will be pushed along by stiff northeasterly winds. As this wind blows uphill from the Plains to the foothills and ridges of the mountains, snow will develop.

"Enough snow will fall to cover roads as some people begin their Thanksgiving journey along Interstates 25, 70, 80 and 90," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The snow will also be a boost for area skiing, just in time for the surge in interest around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Areas from central and southeastern Wyoming to part of the Nebraska Panhandle have the potential to receive 6-12 inches of snow at the start of the weekend. This heavy snow potential includes the cities of Casper and Rawlins, Wyoming.

Rockies Snow 11.17 AM

"Enough snow may fall at a fast enough pace to close portions of roads for a time," Anderson said.

After the snow spread over much of Montana on Friday night, Wyoming, western Nebraska and Colorado will experience the wintry weather into Saturday evening.

The Denver area is forecast to pick up more of a nuisance snowfall with a coating to an inch or two. However, this is just enough to create slippery travel and may trigger airline delays due to deicing operations into Saturday evening.

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Plunging temperatures during the latter part of the snow and in the snow's wake will cause wet and slushy areas to freeze. So people heading out Saturday morning in Billings, Montana, Saturday night in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Sunday morning in Boulder, Colorado, may find icy conditions.

Temperatures are forecast to dip into the single digits in Riverton, Wyoming, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, during Saturday night.

Farther south, the cold will be less dramatic with temperatures forecast to dip into the teens in Denver and Omaha, Nebraska, by Sunday morning.

"The snow is likely to fizzle out farther south over the Rockies and east over the Plains later this weekend," Anderson said.

However, a separate piece of moisture associated with the storm is forecast to break off and streak southeastward into the first part of this weekend.

While a great deal of snow is not in the picture, a coating to an inch or two of snow, which is enough to make roads slippery can occur from the lower part of the northern and central Plains to the Great Lakes region.

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