Saturday snowstorm to bring a foot of snow to Pikes Peak region

Steve Miller

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A "rather unusual" snowstorm is expected to hit the Pikes Peaks Region region this weekend, possibly lingering for days and dumping a foot or more of snow in Colorado Springs, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

While it's certain that a snowstorm will hit the region starting early Saturday, the amount of snow it will bring remains in flux, said Stan Rose, a meteorologist with the weather service. Rose said he will spend most of Thursday chasing down snowfall totals, the estimates for which could change again on Friday.

"It's not really a gangbusters storm per se, it's just a question of when the heavier amounts of snow will fall," he said on Thursday morning.

Weather prediction models for the storm have been all over the map, some predicting three inches for Colorado Springs, others 12 inches, said Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist with Gazette news partner KKTV. For Bledsoe, the question is not so much how much but where the snow will fall.

"Sunday along the Front Range is going to see some pretty heavy snow, but where is that bullseye going to be?" he said. As of Thursday, Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo were all contenders for a big hit. For the past three days, one computer model has consistently predicted 12 inches of snow for Colorado Springs, Bledsoe said.

The storm is an unusual mix of cold northern air and moist air from the Pacific, combining over Colorado to create a three-day snowstorm. It is not a so-called "Albuquerque Low," a storm system notorious for bringing heavy snow to southeast Colorado, said Bledsoe.

As of Thursday, the snow is expected to start on Saturday morning, and continue off and on for most of the day. Sunday will bring plummeting temperatures - in the teens for Colorado Springs - followed by more snow that day and on Monday.

"It will just be this constant piling up of the new snow that falls," said Rose.

Thursday's prediction is that the heaviest snow will fall out east over U.S. 24 toward Limon and along the Palmer Divide, said Rose. While the weekend storm is expected to wrap up on Monday, another snowstorm could likely roll in toward the end of next week, Rose added.

East of Pueblo, dairy farmer Doug Wiley was planning to spend Thursday and Friday putting feed in his cow pastures to prepare for the weekend storm.

"We'll just make sure that we've got feed strategically placed so we can get there and feed if we need to by hand," he said on Thursday.

Wiley doesn't expect the snowstorm to pose a serious threat to his 120 head of cattle - without a severe wind to worry about the greatest concern with this kind of snow is keeping the cattle fed, he said.

While the forecast has drawn some attention, it is not expected to be anything like the October 1997 snowstorm, which killed thousands of cattle in southern Colorado, Wiley recalled. He lost one of his 600 head of cattle to the storm, but said "that's the only time in my life when we couldn't go out" to the cattle because of 10 foot snow drifts, he said.

For his part, he is actually looking forward to a white weekend.

"I'm glad to see it," he said of the snow. "I'd rather live with the snow than live with the dust."


Read more at http://gazette.com/unusual-snowstorm-could-bring-more-than-a-foot-of-snow-to-pikes-peak-region/article/1546583#qsEv1FDmORHhBMJ4.99
 
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Reactions: John Farley
Widespread reports of 1-2 feet in the San Juan River valley, with around 19 inches here at my house near Pagosa Springs and 13 inches in Durango. Much higher amounts in the mountains, including 39 inches in the last 48 hours at the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

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