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Upgraded – National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Warning as storm approaches

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 4:27pm MDT
A Winter Storm Warning will go into effect Thursday morning.  Thornton may see 5 to 10 inches of snow out of the system.

A Winter Storm Warning will go into effect Thursday morning. Thornton may see 5 to 10 inches of snow out of the system.

The National Weather Service has upgraded what was a Winter Storm Watch to a warning and is now forecasting 5 to 10 inches of snow.  Everything seems to be aligning for Thornton and the rest of the Denver metro area to see its first winter storm of the season.

Most of the computers models are coming together with a solution that will pass a low pressure system across southern Colorado.  This solution sets things up for a significant winter weather event with accumulating snow across most of northeastern Colorado.

The Winter Storm Warning will go into effect at 9:00am Thursday and run through 6:00am Friday and is for snow and blowing snow.  Snow will gradually start Thursday morning in the pre-dawn hours and then increase in intensity before noon.  Throughout the day and into early morning Friday the snow will continue. 

Accumulations from 5 to 10 inches are possible with some isolated areas receiving more.  The snow will be joined with gusty winds to 35 mph and bitter Arctic cold temperatures that will send wind chill temperatures plumetting. 

Tomorrow morning’s commute may be a bit messy depending on the timing of the start of the snow.  The afternoon rush hour may be a doozy.  The one possible consolation will be that the snow is likely to of the relatively dry type that we see this year so shoveling shouldn’t be too bad. 

The cold that is accompanying this storm is the other notable aspect.  Thursday will see a high temperature around 23 degrees – nearly 30 degrees cooler than today.  Further that high temperature will be achieved around midnight.  After that the mercury will fall to around 16 degrees by 6:00pm with wind chills into the single digits.

Overnight lows Thursday night will be near zero.  Friday sees little in the way of improvement in terms of temperature with a forecast high of only 15 degrees.  As the clouds clear out late Friday that will allow for even colder nighttime temperatures Friday night with the mercury likely dipping to below zero.

As this storm hits conditions will likely become hazardous for travel and residents should be prepared.  For more information on what you can do to get ready and protect your family, be sure to check out the links below for our series on Winter Weather Preparedness. 

Intro Winter Weather Preparedness Week
Part 1 Winter travel safety
Part 2 Watches…warnings…and advisories
Part 3 High winds
Part 4 Wind chill temperatures and hypothermia
Part 5  Avalanche safety
Review  Winter Weather Preparedness Week review

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