As the forecast becomes clearer tonight, everything is lining up for a summer snow storm early this week for Southern Colorado. Due to our current heat wave, the snow might have a hard time sticking on roads and sidewalks. But before it's all said and done, there's the potential for a big, heavy wet snow event for some areas.
A powerful cold front that will bring a significant change to our weather pattern beginning Tuesday will push through Southern Colorado after midnight, sweeping south through very early Tuesday morning.
Powerful north wind gusts of 30-50 mph will develop behind the front. It's even possible that we could see isolated gusts to 60 mph for parts of El Paso, Pueblo, Crowley and Otero counties between midnight and 6 am Tuesday.
As the cold air filters in and the airmass becomes saturated, snow will start around the Palmer Divide and points north by mid to late morning. With the north wind component, these areas could see quite a bit of snowfall. As the precipitation moves south and encounters warmer air (so to speak), we'll likely start out with a rain/snow mix for southern El Paso County and the lower elevations.
Once the colder air settles in late Tuesday, most areas will see a changeover to snow. I think that this will take place late Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday night, which is when we'll see the heaviest snow.
How much snow we accumulate will largely depend on where the low pressure system sets up. Our current thinking is that the low will dive into Utah Tuesday morning, and then wobble around the Four Corners region until at least Thursday afternoon. This could send us additional snow showers (or rain) on Wednesday, possibly even Thursday.
Snow totals will be highest over the Palmer Divide, southern mountain ranges and Raton Mesa. It's possible that some locations within these areas could see upwards of 10" of snow.
Overall, very little snow is expected over the far southeast Plains. However, if the low drops in farther east, that can change. Parts of the I-25 corridor is likely to be impacted with wet, snow packed and slick roads Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
As for the Pikes Peak Region, it's possible that we could see some hefty snowfall totals across Teller County, the Palmer Divide and the Pikes Peak summit. I even think that snow totals will be more than a couple of inches across the Colorado Springs metro, but highest on the north and west sides of town.
Again, several things will factor in to where the snow sticks and how much accumulates. Your First Alert 5 weather team will keep an eye on new model data and publish forecast updates ahead of the storm. Tune in for the very latest from Meteorologist Sam Schreier, starting at 4:30 am Monday on News 5 Today.