By Justin McHeffey

We hit 54 degrees downtown on Tuesday, and Denver’s temperatures continue their upward trend through the middle of this week. West winds keep the downslope warming effect in place over the metro area, so we should have no problem making it above 50 degrees again.
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You may have noticed the long, thin cloud that hung over the Front Range on Tuesday. That’s known as a “mountain wave,” and it forms when west winds around 10,000–15,000′ blow across the Continental Divide. We can thank these west winds for the mild forecast, but this stationary cloud may block enough sunshine to keep our temperatures from making it warmer than the low 50s on Wednesday.
highs
The second half of the week will be a different story as cold air moves in from Canada. A weak front passes over the area on Thursday and will shave about 10 degrees off our highs. Friday looks to be the coldest day of the week as a reinforcing shot of cold moves in to the area. This northeasterly push will bring a quick shot of snow to Denver on Friday afternoon.
upslope
Our weather west of the Divide will be more active over the next several days. The ridge of high pressure begins breaking down on Wednesday, that opens the door for mountain snow by Thursday. The first round of snow will favor the northwestern mountains, then by Friday we’ll see accumulations south of Interstate 70.
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Since the system is still getting organized over the Pacific we’ll wait on the snow projections. A few visual clues in the long-term forecast suggest that multiple storms may be heading our way. The GFS and European models both show a number of potential storms from now into the second half of January. By my count, at least 4 upper level systems are slated for the high country over the next 10 days.
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If you’re not ready for another temperature swing, get outside and enjoy the next few days. Looks like Denver’s temps will stay on the cool side through the weekend.

Justin McHeffey provides nightly reports from the Mobile Weather Lab. He travels Colorado in search of Mother Nature’s most powerful and beautiful conditions. Like his Facebook page Meteorologist Justin McHeffey and follow him on Twitter @WeatherMcHeffey.

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