First big storm of 2023 set to bring wind & snow to Colorado on Tuesday

Wet Mountain Valley
Southern Colorado snow forecast
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 15:49:03-05

Tonight's Forecast:
Snow will really start to ramp up over the high country this evening, where a new round of Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories has gone into effect. The biggest accumulations look to favor the San Juan Mountains, where another 1-2 feet of fresh powder could fall through Wednesday evening.

For the I-25 corridor and Plains, it'll be a quiet night of weather ahead of snow that returns to the region late Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Colorado Springs forecast: Low: 23; High: 44; After a mellow Tuesday morning, our weather will change drastically by the afternoon and evening hours as snow moves back into the Pikes Peak Region. With the latest trends keeping the low slightly more to our north, the biggest impacts locally will occur over northern Colorado Springs and the Palmer Divide. In town, snow totals look to range from 2-5".

Pueblo forecast: Low: 20; High: 49; Location is everything, and for Pueblo on Tuesday and Wednesday, we look to be just outside the bullseye of the higher snow totals. The storm should begin to bring rain and snow to our forecast by late afternoon, with a changeover to snow late Tuesday night. Snow totals from a trace to 2".

Canon City forecast: Low: 28; High: 47; Overcast and cooler on Tuesday, with the potential for rain showers to develop by the late afternoon hours. As colder air settles in after sunset, a transition to snow is likely to take place. Snow totals from 1-3".

Woodland Park forecast: Low: 18; High: 37; Dry skies early will give way to increasing snow showers by the afternoon ahead of the potential for heavier snow Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Hazardous to dangerous travel can be expected from Tuesday night into the day on Wednesday. Snow totals from 5-8".

Tri-Lakes forecast: Low: 10s/20s; High: 30s/40s; Increasing clouds during the first part of our day on Tuesday will be followed by snow as we head into Tuesday night and Wednesday. A Winter Storm Warning will go into effect at 5 pm Tuesday, and continue through 5 pm Wednesday. Snow totals from 6-9", with locally higher amounts possible.

Plains forecast: Low: 10s/20s; High: 40s/50s; We're looking at an interesting 24-48 hours for the Plains of Colorado. As the storm enters Southern Colorado on Tuesday, we can't rule out a few isolated thunderstorms on the Plains. Then as cold air settles in Tuesday evening, a changeover to snow is likely, with the highest totals expected north of the Arkansas River Valley.

Walsenburg and Trinidad forecast: Low: 20s/30s; High: 40s/50s; Mostly cloudy on Tuesday, with a mix of rain and snow showers for the southern I-25 corridor by the afternoon. Moisture won't be as widespread this far south as this storm will favor areas along and north of the Palmer Divide. Snow totals from 0-2".

Mountains forecast: Low: 10s/20s; High: 20s.30s; Here we go again! More heavy snow is expected for the San Juan Mountains through Wednesday, with an additional 1-2 feet of fresh powder here. Lesser amounts can be expected closer to home, with 5-10" possible for the Sangres, and only a couple of inches up in the Wet Mountains. On top of the snow, it will be windy, with peak gusts from 40-50 mph.

Extended outlook forecast:

Southern Colorado snow forecast
Forecast for snow in Southern Colorado — 1/17 to 1/18/23

As the surface low strengthens over the Plains on Wednesday, wrap around moisture will keep our weather unsettled most of the day. On top of additional snow showers, the winds will really begin to crank, gusting as high as 30-40 mph. With the current track of the low favoring northern Colorado, for now I expect the biggest impacts to occur from the Pikes Peak Region north. These areas should expect significant travel delays, possible road closures, and possible delays and closures for schools.

Dry skies will return Thursday as temperatures climb a few degrees above freezing, but after one quiet day, another storm could bring snow back to Southern Colorado as we wrap up the week this Friday.

A large winter storm will impact Colorado tonight through Wednesday. Follow this blog over the next 24 hours for storm updates and snowfall changes.

Tuesday Morning Update (1/17/23):

There hasn't been much change in storm behavior from last night's update. We're still expecting a high-impact storm with the heaviest snow accumulating across the Denver Metro and south locally to the Pikes Peak Region. Travel will become dangerous along I-25 between northern Colorado Springs and Denver generally after 6 to 8 pm tonight locally, but Denver could start seeing accumulations as soon as 6 pm.

Major road safety closures are going to be possible along I-70 and I-76 tonight and tomorrow due to a dangerous combination of heavy snow and 40 mph wind gusts. CDOT will certainly have to monitor I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock for a snow safety closure tonight and early tomorrow morning.

Winter Storm Highlights

  • Snow accumulation from Denver to the Pikes Peak Region happens after 6 pm tonight
  • Monument & Black Forest could see 3 times as much snow as downtown Colorado Springs
    • 4-8" in Monument vs Dusting - 3" in downtown Colorado Springs
  • Highway 50 should see very little snow, generally an inch or less tonight through Wednesday
  • I-70 and I-76 could see snow safety closures overnight through Wednesday afternoon
  • DIA will likely see widespread delays and cancellations overnight and Wednesday

Areas of Uncertainty:

  • Weather models show a big discrepancy across the center of Colorado Springs
  • If the storm shifts south, we raise totals across El Paso & Teller Counties by 2 to 4 inches

When Snow Accumulation Begins:

DenverAfter 5 pm
MonumentAfter 5 pm
Downtown CO SpringsAfter 6 pm
Woodland ParkAfter 4 pm
PuebloAfter Midnight

Winter Storm Warning and Watch
Winter Weather Advisories, Warnings, and Watches

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings remain in place across Colorado through Wednesday evening.

Out west, heavy snow could lead to a general 5 to 10 inches of accumulation along I-70 with 1 to 2 feet over the San Juans and La Garitas.

Mountain Pass travel will deteriorate quickly today and stay dangerous overnight. Monarch Pass could see as much as 10 inches of snow, with nearly 2 feet up on Wolf Creek Pass.

DMA Snow Accumulation.png
Snow totals Tuesday through Wednesday, 1-17 to 1-18

Even as of 6 am this morning, there was a lot of variability in snow totals across the Pikes Peak Region.

The trend of Highway 50 barely seeing accumulation over the next 24 hours has held, with Denver still likely to grab more snow than El Paso or Teller Counties.

I-25 Snow Accumulation
Snow Accumulation totals along I-25

Northerly winds and the exact location of the low-pressure system will interact with our terrain to limit snow south of El Paso County. In fact, most of the Highway 50 corridor will see an inch of snow or less tonight and Wednesday.

Snow totals across the Pikes Peak Region will stay much higher across the north halves of both El Paso and Teller Counties, compared to the southern halves.

Pikes Peak Region snow.png
Snow totals Tuesday through Wednesday, 1-17 to 1-18

30 to 40 mph wind gusts out of the north will form after 3 am Wednesday morning from the Denver metro south through El Paso County. This could lead to blizzard-like conditions over most roadways along and east of I-25 by the Wednesday morning commute.

Please know that travel Wednesday morning to and from Denver could be extremely dangerous due to snow and ice on the roadways combined with low visibility. This goes for Highway 24 west through Teller County and east to Limon.

Flights in and out of Denver (DIA) could be impacted as early as this evening, but will be for sure by Wednesday morning. Delays and cancellations Wednesday look very likely out of DIA, but maybe not here in Colorado Springs.

Curious about the First Alert 5 Weather Storm Impact Scale? Check out our cheatsheet explainer.

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