Published April 06, 2013
While enjoying this weekend's warmth, residents from Denver to Cheyenne to near Rapid City may find it hard to believe that a blizzard is on the way.
The blizzard threatens to bring northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, southwestern South Dakota and western Nebraska to a standstill Monday night through Tuesday.
Strong winds severely blowing around heavy snow will dramatically reducing visibility and make driving extremely difficult, if not impossible. Officials may be forced to close stretches of interstates 25, 70, 80, 76 and 90.
That is true even though the Front Range is in the midst of a mild stretch of weather, which has helped warm road surfaces, and the strength of the April sun. The snow will come down hard enough to overcome both obstacles.
Parents should prepare for school closures, while airline passengers will likely face cancellations and/or lengthy delays.
Cities in the path of the blizzard include Denver, Fort Collins and Sterling, Colo., Casper, Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyo., and Scottsbluff and Chadron, Neb.
Snowfall totals in and around these cities will approach or top a foot.
While the true blizzard conditions should narrowly miss Rapid City, S.D., to the south, residents can still expect 6 to 12 inches of disruptive snow.
The blizzard is in the works despite the warm weekend that has unfolded across the Front Range. Temperatures in most of the cities bracing for the blizzard are set to soar into the 60s on Sunday.
However, cold air plunging southward and interacting with the storm set to move through the West Sunday through Monday is all that is needed for the blizzard to take shape.
The same storm threatens to ignite an outbreak of severe weather Monday through Tuesday from Texas to Kansas.
As the severe weather takes aim at the Mississippi Valley and Arklatex on Wednesday, AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for the snow to shift eastward across Nebraska and South Dakota and into the Upper Midwest.
The impending blizzard is not entirely bad news for the Front Range. Runoff from the snow, which will quickly melt once milder air arrives later in the week, will bring needed moisture to the region's parched soil.
Much of the Front Range is currently suffering from an extreme to exceptional drought, according to the latest report from the United States Drought Monitor.