A large trough of low pressure organizing over the Southwest and into the Rockies this morning will begin to produce widespread snow across the region, and into the adjacent Plains later tonight and especially on Friday.
As mentioned yesterday, the computer forecast models continue to come into a consensus regarding the swath of heaviest snow, which is forecast to extend from the Denver area, across northeast Colorado into southwest through east-central Nebraska and western and central Iowa by Saturday.
The series of images below show the NAM computer model forecast of snow depth valid at 6am CST Friday, 6pm CST Friday, 6am CST Saturday and 6pm CST on Saturday, respectively:
A zoom-in (from the same computer model) on the Denver area shows a total snowfall forecast of 12-14 inches for most of the city itself, with a whopping 16-20 inches just to the East/Southeast along or immediately North of I-70:
Most of this snow would fall during the period tonight through Friday night.
Below are similar zoom-in images of the NAM model for the Omaha and Des Moines areas:
The greatest impact (with respect to falling snow and wind) would likely take place across the Omaha and Des Moines areas from 6am CST Saturday through 6am CST on Sunday, the way it looks right now. This area may see some shift in the forecast axis of maximum snowfall, as the forecast is currently going further out in time as compared to the Denver area, but this should give you a good idea as to what is likely to take place across the region over the weekend.
Needless to say, there will be widespread travel problems across a large region from the central Rockies out East into the adjacent Plains and Midwest this weekend. In addition to the threat of heavy snow, strong North winds of 20-30 mph with gusts over 40 mph will cause white out to near white out conditions in many areas. Travel is highly discouraged. Winter weather watches, warnings and advisories are becoming widespread, and will continue to be refined during the day today:
Blizzard Warnings are in effect in the areas shaded in orange, mainly across east-central and northeast Colorado into far northwest Kansas. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for the areas in pink, which includes the Denver Metro area. A Blizzard Watch is in effect across southwest Nebraska (bright green shaded area), with a Winter Storm Watch in effect for much of northwest Kansas, a large part of Nebraska and western and central Iowa (teal shaded area).
Folks living in the affected areas should make plans now by gathering provisions today before the storm hits. Be prepared to stay indoors for 2-3 days and have some emergency stock of non-perishable food, water and batteries should power go out for an extended period of time.
If you have travel plans across this region, it is highly discouraged unless you can reach your destination today (in the Western half of the region) and have safe place to stay through the weekend. Across the Eastern half of the region, all travel should be completed by Friday evening.
Listen to a trusted source for later updates and warnings on this potentially dangerous winter weather situation.
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