DENVER (CBS4) – Tuesday will start with mostly sunny skies in the immediate Denver metro area but shifting winds to the northeast will quickly bring worsening air quality, colder temperatures, and chance for flurries or light snow. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has expanded an Air Quality Alert to cover the entire Front Range through Tuesday afternoon. Visibility will likely go from good to awful in a very short period of time.

(source: CBS)

Because of the expected air quality change later in the day, CDPHE has declared the air unhealthy for sensitive groups meaning older adults, young children, and those with respiratory problems. But all residents may notice eye, nose, and throat irritation due to the increasingly poor air quality. Everyone around Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins is encouraged to limit driving non-EV vehicles as much as possible to limit pollution levels. Indoor wood-burning fireplaces are also prohibited from being used on Tuesday.

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(source: CBS)

Meanwhile, temperatures will be generally warmer on Tuesday compared to recent days. Denver should climb above freezing for the first time since last Wednesday but highs will stay in the 30s along the Front Range which is still below normal. The Eastern Plains will be stuck in the teens and 20s again.

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(source: CBS)

Periods of snow are likely across the mountains through Wednesday night and it’s possible some mountain snow could sneak east into the metro area late Tuesday and again late Wednesday. The best chance for snow in the Denver metro area will be in the afternoon and evening on Wednesday when 1-2 inches of accumulation is possible for most areas with higher amounts above 6,000 feet south and west of Denver. Meanwhile, any accumulation late Tuesday should be less than 1 inch and likely just a dusting.

(source: CBS)

Looking farther ahead, Thursday should be dry almost statewide but also chilly. Temperatures more common for February will return on Friday with highs in the 40s for the metro area. Similar weather is expected for the weekend before more substantial warming next week.

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Meteorologist Ashton Altieri