By First Alert Meteorologist Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – Winter Park has had 20 inches of snow this week and statewide snowpack has improved. Meanwhile it’s been a month since the metro area has had significant moisture.

The combination of dry soil, very low relative humidity, and westerly winds gusting up to 45 mph will drive the fire danger into a critical category for lower elevations in Colorado on Thursday. Therefore a Red Flag Warning has been issued through 7 p.m. for Denver and the entire I-25 corridor. The Eastern Plains are also included.

(source: CBS)

The CBS4 Weather Team has also declared Thursday a First Alert Weather Day due to the fire danger. If a fire were to start, it could spread rapidly with the current conditions.

(source: CBS)

Thursday afternoon will also be noticeably warmer compared to Wednesday which will also help contribute to the concern for wildfires.

(source: CBS)

The only moisture in Colorado will be in the mountains where orographic snow showers will continue at times through Friday afternoon. Any accumulation will be minor and should be limited to 1-2 inches mainly above 9,500 feet. There will also be wind gusts up to 50 mph at times in the mountains and travel could be slow at times along I-70 and other other mountains roadways.

(source: CBS)

The snow on Thursday and Friday will be minor compared to earlier in the week. Since Tuesday Winter Park has measured 20 inches, Snowmass has had 18 inches, Aspen Mountain has had 16 inches, and Beaver Creek measured 10 inches.

All the snow has helped snowpack to increase across all eight of Colorado’s river basins in recent days. On Monday the statewide average snowpack was 88% compared to normal. As of Thursday morning it was 92% compared to normal. Ideally water officials would perfect it to be 100% but it could obviously be much worse.

(source: CBS)

The only chance for moisture in the 7-day forecast for the metro area is Saturday night. At this time, it appears to only be a 20% chance for sprinkles.

Meteorologist Ashton Altieri