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Heavy snow will spread from the Rockies to parts of the Plains into Sunday, bringing travel disruptions to Denver, Colorado Springs, along with other cities and wide open spaces in the region.
The storm system causing the snow will track from the Rockies into the Plains. As it does so, gusty winds can kick up dust over the deserts from New Mexico to West Texas.
Most gusts into the first half of tonight will range from 40 to 50 mph in western New Mexico to 50 to 60 mph in eastern New Mexico and parts of Texas. Winds will be highest over the ridges and through the passes.
With cold air moving in high overhead and the lower atmosphere being relatively warm, thunderstorms with hail are a possibility in the region, especially from Austin to Tulsa.
Motorists should expect areas of slow travel over the high country along I-40 from Flagstaff to Oklahoma City.
Farther north over the Rockies from Colorado to northern New Mexico, this will also be a sizable snowstorm this weekend. A couple of feet of snow will pile up in the high country of the Colorado Rockies.
This setup will bring a major snowstorm to Denver, with 6 to 12 inches of snow expected through tonight. This storm could be the biggest of the season for Denver. A storm during late February brought 9 inches of snow to Denver International Airport.
As of Saturday afternoon, visibility at Denver International Airport was down to 1/4 mile in heavy snow. The National Weather Service in Denver reports that up to 7 inches of snow had already accumulated in some northern suburbs. Over 500 flights have now been cancelled out of Denver International Airport. Interstate 70 has been closed from east of Aurora to Burlington, Colo. due to hazardous travel. Motorists are urged not to drive across the Plains tonight due to the dangerous road conditions.
Other snow totals through midday Saturday across the Front Range of Colorado include: 2.0" 3 miles SE of downtown Denver, 4.7" in Thornton, 4.5" in Broomfield, 4.9" in Aurora, 4.5" in Littleton, 3.0" in Boulder, 4.0" in Highlands Ranch, 7.0" in Northglenn, 6.5" in Golden, 3.5" in Monument and 2" in Strasburg.
March typically brings the biggest snowstorms of the year to the Mile High City, and this one could track just right to do the job. Significant snow will also fall on Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
It could prove to be disruptive for travelers in the area including those partaking in spring break activities in a warmer climate or heading to the slopes for a week of skiing. Highways I-25, I-70 and I-80 will be impacted by heavy snow in the region.
The storm will also bring a surge of warmth to the eastern half of the nation, as well as drenching rain to part of the upper Mississippi River Basin and needed moisture in the form of snow to part of the northern Plains.
While any moisture from snow or rain is welcomed for water resources, it will not be enough on its own to quell concerns for water usage later this summer.
This story was published at 9:00 a.m. MST Thursday, March 6, 2013. It was updated at 12:30 p.m. MST Saturday, March 9, 2013.
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