Southern Colorado is bracing for a widespread winter weather event over the next 48 hours.
Quick Forecast - What's coming?
A cold front tonight is going to send temperatures plunging by 50 to 60 degrees over the next 36 hours for most places in southern Colorado.
As the cold front comes through tonight, we could see wind gusts between 30 to 60 mph. The strongest gusts will likely be in and around El Paso, Pueblo, Crowley, and Lincoln Counties.
Rain and snow will follow the cold front Tuesday morning, starting first in northern Colorado and drifting south through southern Colorado as the day goes along. The bulk of our accumulating snow will fall Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.
How much snow?
Answering this is going to be very tough due to how hot we're getting today and how far apart most weather modeling remains.
Most modeling is pointing at accumulating snow from Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Warm pavement will melt most of the snow that falls in the first part of Tuesday, but continuous cold air will eventually cool pavement enough for accumulation to start showing up Tuesday evening.
The areas that will see the most snow in this evening will be elevations over 7,000 feet. That means Monument Hill, but especially our mountains will see the biggest accumulations.
When will driving be difficult?
Luckily for Colorado drivers, it's going to be very hot today. Highs in the 90s and triple digits will crank the pavement temperatures this afternoon, and it's going to take almost all day for them to sink down near the freezing level. The heaviest snow is expected to fall Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, just as our pavement starts to get near freezing.
The worst driving will likely be anytime after 10pm Tuesday through whenever the snow stops Wednesday morning. The mountain roads will cool first, as will Monument Hill, making those the prime areas for snow accumulation.
How cold are we going to get?
This will be the first freeze of the season for southern Colorado.
Unfortunately, it will also be the end of the growing season, as most crops will die Tuesday night when lows slip down to and below freezing.
Whatever is not killed by the freeze on Wednesday will likely die Thursday morning, as temperatures will once again be down to if not below freezing.
If you have the ability to move your flowers and vegetables inside, you need to do that Monday night. Otherwise, try and cover the plants with a thick towel or a heavy blanket.