The second of two cold storms in less than a week will take aim on Colorado on Saturday night, Sunday and into early Monday with heavy snow and gusty winds.
The storm has the potential to unload a couple of feet of snow in the high country of Colorado and Utah, and can bring substantial snow to the cities of Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, in Colorado, as well as accumulating snow to Cheyenne and Casper, Wyoming.
The storm threatens to cause travel delays and could lead to power outages.
Enough snow can fall to create slushy and slow travel over the passes along I-70 in Colorado and I-80 in Wyoming on Sunday night into Monday.
The snow will have trouble accumulating to roads during the day on Sunday, especially out of the mountains and in major cities, due to the strong May sun effect. However, as road surface temperatures cool at night and remain cool into the next morning, slippery conditions should be expected by motorists and pedestrians.
Since trees are beginning to leaf, the weight of wet snow adhering to elevated objects can bring down large branches and wires.
Rain will change to snow as it turns colder, causing snow levels to lower. The changeover to snow around Denver is forecast to take place during the midday and afternoon hours.
If you are taking mom out for a meal on Sunday, consider breakfast, brunch or an early dinner. Road conditions may deteriorate and power outages could be developing and become widespread by evening.
Temperatures much of the day on Sunday will be in the 30s in the major cities and even lower in the mountains. Enough wind will be generated by the storm in open and elevated areas to produce AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures in the teens and 20s.
This will come as quite a shock to many people as temperatures on Saturday are forecast to peak in the 60s and 70s. Temperatures will plummet on Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Most ski resorts have closed for the season (Arapahoe Basin is still open). However, the snow will present an opportunity for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Use extreme caution when skiing on non-trails after heavy snowfall due to the risk of avalanches.
The storm will bring temperature extremes over the Plains and Rockies. The temperature contrast will contribute not only to a zone of heavy snow, but also very wet conditions and the risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
There is the potential for thunderstorms to erupt and become severe from portions of central Texas to northern Illinois on Sunday. This area is likely to be the intersection of dry air from the southwest, building heat and moisture to the southeast and chilly air to the northwest.
A zone of drenching rain is likely to develop just north and west of the thunderstorm area in the cooler air.
Meanwhile, gusty winds topping 60 mph in some areas will kick up dust and raise the wildfire danger south of the storm track over the deserts and passes from Southern California to New Mexico and the western Texas Panhandle.
The storm can bring rainfall to some drought areas of the southern and central Plains on Sunday to Monday. However, the rainfall will be spotty in the neediest areas of the region from the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma, southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado.
There will be some snow reaching the mountains of northern New Mexico, but nothing like the magnitude of the snow farther north.
The snow will linger into Monday, which could cause travel delays and disruptions to commerce and school activities.
As the storm rolls out to the northeast on Monday and Tuesday, wet snow could mix in over part of the upper Great Lakes region at the tail end.