Forecasters predicted another storm that could drop up to 8 inches of snow in Denver and other cities along the Front Range as residents dig out from under a storm last week dumped more than 3 feet of snow.

Last week's storm forced the closure of Denver International Airport, the nation's fifth-largest airport, and stranded hundreds of motorists after officials shut down highways. A storm Thursday and Friday could cause problems as it's expected to produce high winds and whiteouts, the National Weather Service said.

"This could be another doozy," Klaus Wolter of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder said of the impending storm. "Right now we're in an amazingly active storm track."

Wolter, a climate researcher, has said El Nino, a warming of water in the Pacific Ocean, will bring moisture to western and southern Colorado January through March. If the storm predicted for week's end dumps a lot of snow, that will be unusual, Wolter said.

In Colorado, El Nino years typically bring a wet fall, dryness in the middle of winter, and a wet spring.

"If you didn't look at the calendar and didn't know it was December, you would think this was April," based on the weather Wolter said.

Airport spokesman Chuck Cannon said employees likely would go on snow alert Wednesday, with crews ready to start clearing runways. He said airport officials would meet with airlines and concessionaires to make sure everyone was ready.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said the city planned to hire private contractors to help with snow removal on residential streets.