NewsCovering Colorado


Storm Wednesday could grow as strong as a Category 2 hurricane

Posted at 11:19 AM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 12:44:57-04

A massive storm is set to hit the United States in the middle of this week, starting in Colorado and tracking northeast to the Great Lakes by Thursday. This storm will bring a mix of damaging wind, heavy snow, and soaking rain to millions of people across the county by the end of the week.

What can Colorado expect?
This system starts developing across eastern Colorado Tuesday night and rapidly grows into a storm with category 1 hurricane strength by Wednesday morning. Rain will start falling across the lower elevations Tuesday night with snow across the Front Range and southern mountains.

By Wednesday at 6 pm, the low-pressure center over Kansas is forecast to hit 974 millibars, which would place the storm within the strength of a Category 2 Hurricane. This would be the lowest pressure reading on any barometer in Kansas over the last 40 or more years! A pressure that low would easily be able to generate dangerous wind gusts across multiple states, including Colorado.

The winds will start to slowly grow overnight and become dangerous with damaging gusts up to and over 60 mph by Wednesday afternoon. 80 or more mph gusts around the Palmer Divide and down some eastern mountain slopes, like Cheyenne Mountain, cannot be overruled from Wednesday afternoon through the evening hours.

A Blizzard Warning is now in effect for nearly all of El Paso County with a Winter Storm Warning in effect for all of Teller County. Both warnings begin at 10 am and last into Thursday morning.

Snow Totals
Snow estimation across El Paso and Teller counties

Snow totals now look MUCH larger across Teller and northern El Paso counties. Far less snow will fall south of Woodmen road towards downtown, but 50 to 60 mph gusts could still make travel in an inch of snow nearly impossible. The heaviest snow will occur from Woodmen road north to Monument Hill, coupled with wind gusts in the 50 to 70 mph range. Teller County will see much less intense wind speeds, but more snow, especially over Woodland Park.