DENVER (CBS4)- We have an amazing weather feature that is setting up for Friday right on into the weekend! It is an atmospheric river of air flowing straight out of Hawaii and is sometimes known as “The Pineapple Express.”
On the weather map we have a strong, stationary ridge of high pressure centered about 1,000 miles off the coast of California. At the same time a very strong jet stream flowing up and over that high. This is creating a sort of conveyor belt of moisture that flows across Hawaii and right into the Continental U.S.
Patterns like this can produce flooding rains along the west coast and heavy duty snow falls in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Rockies when it lingers for long stretches, as will be the case through the weekend. There will also, be very gusty winds along with this flow. Especially, on Friday. In the Denver metro area winds on Friday could blow 30 to 40 mph. With Mountain and Foothill winds 40 to 50 mph.
As a result, there will be two big waves of Pacific moisture slamming into Colorado from now through Sunday. The first has prompted Winter Storm Warnings in the mountains through Friday afternoon. Some mountains may see 2 to 3 feet of snow by Sunday night!
The second weekend wave will be strong enough that a Winter Storm Watch is posted for that time period. This includes many mountain areas along with Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
Travel will be become difficult in the high country on Thursday and Friday and will likely become impossible in some areas due to closed roads on Saturday and Sunday. Accidents will cause significant delays and plow crews will struggle as the snow persists for several days.
For Denver and our surrounding area snow amounts will be much smaller than those in the high country. Here is one snow model that is predicting about 1 to 3 inches of snow in Denver with more closer to foothills and higher elevations above 6,000 feet.
Along with the snow cold air will be inducted into the area as well with many highs on Sunday through Monday dropping to or slightly below freezing.