As cold air returns to the interior western United States, heavy snow will fall across the northern and central Rockies and lead to slippery travel into Monday.
The first snow of the season is in store for a large part of the Interstate-25 corridor along the Colorado Front Range.
Those with travel plans along interstates 25, 70 and 80 in Colorado and Wyoming should anticipate slower commute times, drastically changing weather conditions and snow-covered roads early next week.
A storm will push through the Rockies along the leading edge of cold Canadian air pressing southward through the Rockies and northern Plains, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.
The combination of the cold and the storm will lead to accumulating snowfall across the region.
Several inches of snow will first accumulate across the northern Rockies through Sunday, leading to times of slick travel along portions of Interstate 90 in Montana. The snow and cold will then sweep southeastward toward Wyoming and Colorado.
“Denver could receive their first accumulating snow [of the season] late Sunday into Monday,” Boston said.
A general 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected along the I-25 corridor with higher totals of 3-6 inches in the foothills of the Rockies. Snow totals across the higher terrain will reach a foot or more.
Precipitation will start out as rain before rapidly changing over to snow as the cold takes over on Sunday night. A quicker changeover to snow will bring higher snow totals to the Front Range.
Temperatures will drastically plunge from the 60s and 70s F on Sunday to the 30s on Monday.
Roadways will turn from wet to slushy and snow-covered in a short amount of time. Motorists will need to slow down to avoid spin outs and multiple car pileups.
Gusty winds may cause whiteout conditions at times, causing further hazards to travelers.
The snow could weigh heavily enough on trees that have not shed their leaves to break branches. Trees that fall on power lines could trigger sporadic power outages.
A fresh snow cover, clearing skies and calming winds on Monday night will lead to a hard freeze. Temperatures will drop into the 10s and 20s.
Quieter and milder conditions are in store across the region for the remainder of the second week of October.
Motorists and pedestrians should watch for ice on roadways and sidewalks during the early morning and overnight hours due to melting and refreezing snow.