Denver weather: Significant April snow possible for Thursday

Get ready, Denver: more snow is on the way, and Thursday’s snowstorm could be a hefty one.

As much as a foot of snow could fall across parts of the Denver metro area on Thursday, with 3-to-6 inches possible in Denver proper and the immediate metro area. Most of the snow will fall on Thursday behind another sharp cold front, though there are still some questions about snowfall amounts and exact impacts.

Before Thursday’s storm, though, the Front Range should get at least a bit of a brief reprieve from the record-breaking chill so far this week. Wednesday’s relatively warm sunshine will offer a bit of a false summit: after Sunday, Monday and Tuesday’s cold and snow, temperatures should bounce back into the 50s on Wednesday afternoon. It should be nice enough for most (socially distant) outdoor plans or errands.

But don’t be fooled, folks.

Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, a reinforcing shot of cold air will move into northern Colorado, and with it, more snow and more cold.

The front will likely move through the urban corridor on Thursday morning, dragging in the first snowflakes around sunrise on Thursday. Snow will fall, heavy at times, throughout the day on Thursday before winding down on Thursday night.

Highest totals will be in the foothills west of Denver, where as much as a foot of snow could fall.

As of Tuesday evening, forecast uncertainty still remained relatively high. Thursday’s snow setup will likely be driven by localized bands of heavier snowfall, which could lead to narrow swaths of significantly higher totals. The exact locations of those bands are often difficult to predict in advance.

“Confidence is not high,” the National Weather Service in Boulder wrote in its Tuesday evening forecast discussion, regarding Thursday’s storm.

Because most of Thursday’s snow will fall during the daytime hours on Thursday, roads should stay mainly wet around the Denver metro area.

While April is Denver’s second-snowiest month of the year on average (8.9″ each April), it’s been about four years since Denver saw a half foot of snow from a single April storm. The last April snowstorm of this forecast magnitude came back in 2016, when Denver saw 12.1 inches of snow over two days.

In fact, if Denver does wind up with six or more inches of snow from this storm, it’d mark only the third April snowstorm of that size over the last decade. While that’s not currently forecast, a six-inch snowstorm in Denver is not out of the realm of possibility.

Following Thursday’s storm, the sun should poke out a bit on Friday, with sunny skies and temperatures back near 60 degrees by Saturday. Temperatures should return back to around 70 degrees by early next week under continued sunshine.

But until then, it’s Old Man Winter’s show, and an impressive one at that.

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