Updated, Sunday, 3/2/08 @ 4:20pm – The storm has pretty much passed to the south of the Thornton area at this time. The NWS says they will keep the Snow & Blowing Snow Advisory in effect until 8:00pm but there is little cause for concern on our side of town. Any lingering showers should be confined south of I-76 and I-70. Look for clearing skies tonight and a cool but decent day tomorrow. Our next chance for precipitation should be into Wednesday but at this time that doesn’t look like it will amount to much.
Updated, Sunday, 3/2/08 @ 2:00pm – After a bit of a lull things started picking back up for a while. Winds continue to blow quite a bit and more snow is falling. As previously mentioned, it is difficult to measure with how much it is blowing and drifting. The National Weather Service guidelines say to take an average and pretty much make a “best guess” so that is what we do – call it 4.1″ of snow thus far today.
Areas south continue to get the worst of the storm, particularly from Park and Jefferson counties east through Douglas and Elbert counties. Blizzard conditions exist in these areas and do stretch north into eastern Adams county and to Limon. Travel is not advised in these areas.
Radar does seem to indicate that the storm is slowly moving out and we should start seeing a decrease in intensity on the north side of town in the next couple of hours.
Speaking of blizzards… As of yet, this storm has not been classified as an official one – at least in the metro area. By National Weather Service definition, a blizzard has winds of 35mph or greater and blowing snow that reduces visibilities to 1/4 mile or less for more than 3 hours. Today, while the wind has been nasty, speeds have been a bit erratic and we haven’t had the sustained speeds to meet the definition. Further, snowfall rates for the most part haven’t caused that severe of visibility issues. Areas south and east of Denver however do appear to meet the criteria.
Updated, Sunday, 3/2/08 @ 8:40am – Fast and furious would be a good description of this storm. The wind is the biggest thing right now causing drifting. In our area depending on where you measure you can have anywhere from 1/2″ to 5″ which makes it pretty difficult to get an accurate measurement. Radar does currently show that the worst of the storm has passed us by so it should continue to taper off although the wind will be with us for a while.
Below are a few pictures we took at around 6:40 this morning as the worst of the snow was falling.
Updated, Sunday, 3/2/08 @ 5:25am – The storm is here! Snow has started falling in the north Thornton area just in the last 15 minutes. Coupled with it are extremely high and dangerous winds. The winds started building about an hour ago as the storm approached and reached a crescendo just before 5:00am when we recorded a ThorntonWeather.com record wind gust of 46mph. This shatters the old record of 40mph. Current average windspeeds are above 30mph which is quite high.
Radar is showing the front moving south across the area and conditions should continue to deteriorate as we get closer to sunrise and as the morning progresses. Please rememeber that there is a Snow & Blowing Snow Advisory in effect until 8:00pm tonight. A snow and blowing snow advisory means that visibilities will be limited due to a combination of falling and blowing snow. Use caution when traveling, especially in open areas.
Saturday, 3/1/08 @ 11:00pm – At 9:51pm tonight the National Weather Service issued a Snow & Blowing Snow Advisory for much of central Colorado and the central and northern mountains. This goes into effect at 5:00am Sunday through 8:00pm. Areas affected do include the Denver metro area. Current models are indicating a stronger than expected upslope with this storm which will help slow it down as it moves through the area.
Rain and snow showers could start to appear after 2:00am, changing to mostly snow by dawn. By the end of the day Sunday we could see between three and five inches of snow in Thornton. However, the ground is pretty warm thanks to the nice weather in recent days so a lot of it won’t stick. The wind could cause some minor drifting and higher accumulations. The south metro area and the Palmer Divide could see some significant accumulations and driving conditions will deteriorate quickly so if you are heading that way, please be aware.
This is of course quite a change compared to today (Saturday) when DIA reached a new record high for this date of 74 – the old record was 73. Up north in Thornton we were a bit warmer with a high of 75.7. We hope everyone enjoyed the warmth because change is coming! 🙂