Denver Weather: Cold And Wet Weather Has Arrived, Up Next Is Branch Breaking Snow

DENVER (CBS4) – A powerful storm expected to cause widespread impacts arrived on schedule Thursday night. The worse conditions in the Denver metro area will start Friday afternoon.

For the Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and most locations under 6,000 feet, rain will mix with snow Friday afternoon followed by a change to all snow for Friday night and Saturday morning. Therefore the CBS4 Weather Team has declared a First Alert Weather Day through midday Saturday.

The Denver metro area is under a Winter Storm Warning starting at 4 p.m. Friday. The highest impacts from this very late season storm will be related to snow accumulation on trees. Since most trees now have full foliage and the snow will be very heavy, the weight of the snow could easily break at least small tree limbs.

Areas that get at least 6 inches of accumulation could experience significant tree damage including large limbs breaking. These large limbs could cause widespread and prolonged power outages while damaging homes, vehicles, and other property.

Total snow accumulation will vary significantly across the region with the highest totals in the higher foothills of Jefferson, Boulder, and Larimer Counties as well as in the mountains as far west at Vail Pass. All of these areas are under a Winter Storm Warning.

For the Denver metro area, locations west of south of downtown Denver have the best chance of getting more than 6 inches of snow. Elsewhere totals should reach at least 2-3 inches.

Farther west and east, there is a Winter Weather Advisory instead of a warning which means expected snow totals will be less and impacts should be less severe. The I-70 corridor on the Eastern Plains through Limon is forecast to get 3-7 inches of snow while I-70 west of Vail Pass should get 5-11 inches along with the mountains around Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Vail, and Gunnison.

In terms of temperatures, record lows are expected in Denver Saturday morning and again on Sunday morning. The metro area could drop as low as 26 degrees both mornings meaning a hard freeze that could damage sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing.

Looking ahead to the second half of the weekend, Sunday with start with another hard freeze before afternoon temperatures reach into the 50s. Sunday will include limited sunshine and will be mainly dry. There is still a chance for showers but it would be rain and not snow.