By First Alert Meteorologist Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – A windy Thursday is on the way for Denver and the Front Range with the potential to see wind gusts between 60-80 mph in the higher elevations west of Interstate 25. The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning until 5 p.m. Thursday for the foothills and portions of the I-25 corridor between Fort Collins and the Wyoming state line.

Denver is not in the warning but it will be windy at times on Thursday, especially during the afternoon, with the potential to see gusts as high as 35-45 mph. Those gusts could create some flight delays at Denver International Airport.

The wind is in response to an approaching storm system that will move in from the Pacific Northwest over the next 12 to 24 hours. This new storm will be a major factor for New Year’s Eve celebrations around Colorado with widespread snow and very cold temperatures.

Here’s a little more about the timing of snow in Denver. A strong cold front will sweep across the Front Range sometime during the late morning or early afternoon hours on Friday. The snow will start to fly behind that front and temperatures will plummet. Most areas in metro Denver should have snow falling by sunset. Once the snow starts it will last through the night and into the early morning hours on Saturday.

Most of metro Denver should see anywhere between 2 and 5 inches of snow with higher total in the foothills and around Fort Collins. Those areas have been placed under a Winter Storm Watch for the potential to see totals in excess of 6 inches.

Conditions will rapidly clear during the day on Saturday as this storm moves into the middle of the country. But it will be extremely cold with highs in Denver staying in the teens. A warming trend will start Sunday and last into the middle of next week.

First Alert Meteorologist Chris Spears