By Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – A very strong spring storm moving into Colorado on Monday will cause cold rain at lower elevations and snow in the high country. By early Tuesday morning snow could replace rain as low as 5,000 feet.

Temperatures will be stuck in the lower and middle 40s along the Front Range on Monday and Tuesday which is common in January. Not in May. In fact, we’ll be be close to the coldest high temperatures ever recorded in Denver on May 20 and 21.

Most of the morning on Monday will include nothing more than drizzle in the metro area. Then heavier rain will develop later in the day and continue through Monday night. Eventually it should become cold enough for the rain to transition into snow. For locations below 6,000 feet – which is the vast majority of the metro area – any accumulation will be limited to rooftops and grassy surfaces. Any snow that occurs should melt on pavement so roads should remain nothing more than wet in most of the metro area.

Meanwhile between 6,000 feet and 7,000 feet there could be slush on some roads. Above 7,000 feet a rare late May Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the foothills of Jefferson County as well the Rampart Range in Douglas County. Locations such as Conifer, Bailey, and Deckers could see 5 to 10 inches of spring snow through Tuesday night.

Even higher in elevation there is a Winter Storm Warning for locations above 9,000. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 18 inches is expected through Tuesday night along with wind gusts up to 25 mph. Areas west of Vail Pass could see even higher snow amounts.

In southwest Colorado there is also a Winter Storm Warning for the San Juan Mountains including the Telluride, Lake City, and Ouray areas. Total snow accumulation of 8 to 16 inches is expected above 9000 feet with lesser amounts down to 7000 feet. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph. The most significant impacts will occur Monday night.

In southeast Colorado on Monday the concern is not snow – it’s severe weather. The Lamar and Springfield areas are under a “marginal” to “slight” risk for severe weather including large hail, damaging wind, and isolated tornadoes. A much higher threat for severe weather southeast of Colorado including in Texas and Oklahoma on Monday.

Ashton Altieri

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