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Rain, Snow Returns Across Drought-Stricken Western US

By By Brett Rathbun, Meteorologist
November 11, 2015, 12:46:22 AM EST

Following a storm system that spread the first flakes to portions of the Western states last week, a new system will bring more accumulating snow across the region through the first half of this week.

The storm has the potential to bring the first blizzard of the season to parts of the High Plains and eastern slopes of the central Rockies, including Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

A storm system will track eastward across the Western states into the Plains by Wednesday.

Chilly air will return and allow snow showers to return across the higher elevations and the first flakes to fall across some lower elevations.

Snow Blankets Flagstaff, Arizona


Regardless of whether the precipitation falls as rain or snow, any precipitation will help the significant drought across the West.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney, "Enough snow can accumulate and make travel slippery and possibly lead to travel restrictions and chain laws to go into effect in the highest passes."


"Snow levels will be falling to around 4,500 feet," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Zapolski said.

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Snow will track eastward on Tuesday from southeastern Montana to the Wasatch Range in Utah and across the higher terrain in northern Arizona. Places such as Casper, Wyoming and Flagstaff, Arizona, could face slippery travel.

Snow will wind down across the Sierra Nevada after some places received over 1 foot of snow.

"In addition to the slippery roads, blowing and drifting snow can lead to low visibility at times," Zapolski said.

While snow showers may extend as far south as Flagstaff, accumulations are not expected to be as heavy as the 10 inches that fell during the storm last week.

"Rain will change to snow Tuesday night across Salt Lake City, with a light accumulation possible," LeSeney said.

This could be the first accumulating snow for Salt Lake City since April 15, 2015, when 5.5 inches of snow fell across the city.


By Tuesday night, snow will overspread areas from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Colorado Rockies and eastern Colorado, including Denver.

From 2 to 4 inches of snow is forecast in the downtown area of Denver with much more for the foothills from Tuesday night into Wednesday. A foot of snow is likely along the Front Range.

"Travel delays and flight delays are likely Wednesday morning in the Denver Metro area," AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll said. Gusty winds whipping the snow around and reducing visibility will further lead to problems for commuters.


As this storm exits, a new system will spread across the Northwest bringing more rain and higher-elevation snow for Veterans Day. Another potent storm is expected to move into the Northwest by Friday.

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