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Fox News Weather Center

Powerful April snowstorm to bury Colorado Rockies, High Plains this weekend

A slow-moving storm will supply enough cold air for accumulating snow to fall across the eastern Rockies and High Plains, including Denver, this weekend.

"After springlike temperatures for the past several days, a dramatic change will unfold this weekend across the High Plains," AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.

The jet stream will dip southward along the United States and Mexico border and open the door for cold air from Canada to seep southward across the eastern Rockies and western Plains.

The jet stream, a narrow zone of strong winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere, assists in separating cold air to the north and warmer air to the south.

Highs in Denver have reached the 60s and 70s F since April 2. By this weekend, highs may fail to reach 40.

"While wild changes are not uncommon this time of year, it will still be a shock for many," Adamson said.

Precipitation will begin in the form of rain and thunderstorms across the High Plains on Friday. However, it will start and end as snow across the Colorado Rockies.

Travel will become slippery and hazardous across much of Colorado, especially from Saturday afternoon through Sunday across interstates 25, 70, 76 and 80 when rain changes over to snow.

"By late Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, colder air will filter in, causing rain to mix and eventually change over to snow in the Denver Metro area," Adamson said.

The heaviest snow will fall across the Colorado Rockies with feet of accumulation possible.

While the heaviest snow will fall across Colorado, enough snow could fall to lead to travel delays across portions of Wyoming, western Nebraska, northern New Mexico and southwestern South Dakota.

Surface temperatures and the exact track of the storm will be the determining factors regarding how much snow will fall and where.

"Snowfall totals will highly depend on the exact timing of the changeover, how quickly temperatures fall and how fast the snow accumulates," Adamson said.

Motorists this weekend are urged to allow plenty of time and to make sure a winter survival kit is on hand since conditions could become treacherous enough for vehicles to be stranded. Those not needing to travel should stay off the roads.

Enough snow could fall to cancel flights inbound and outbound at the Denver International Airport.

The weight and amount of snow can knock down trees and power lines, leading to sporadic power outages. Those with a flat or weak roof should seek safe snow removal to avoid collapse.

"Snow will be heavy and wet due to temperatures around the freezing mark," Adamson said.

Blizzard conditions are not as likely as with this storm compared to other events from this winter and spring due to the heavy, wet nature of the expected snow. However, winds in some locations could gust over 30 mph.

While the baseball season has begun, this storm will not impact any games at Coors Field.

"Fortunately, the Colorado Rockies are on a six-game road trip starting on Friday, so the snow in Denver will not have any impact on their games," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

The storm will slowly depart the area during Monday night and Tuesday as drier and milder weather replaces it for the rest of next week.

This same storm will be the culprit behind a severe weather and flooding risk across the Plains later this week and weekend.

April snowstorms are not uncommon across Colorado.

"Denver averages nearly 7 inches of snow during the month of April," Pydynowski said. "Given the city has yet to receive any snow this month, this storm should take Denver up to or even a bit above its monthly April average."

Snow can also make an appearance in Denver during May. A snowstorm on May 9, 2015, postponed a baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers after Denver received 4 inches of snow.