Spotty snow possible tonight, again on Friday

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 6:26 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - It’s been a while since our last go-around with the Polar Vortex. We’re hearing about it more this week since it will be a major player in the weather across the central U.S. for the busy travel period leading up to Christmas.

Polar Vortex Influencing National Holiday Travel Weather

Some of the coldest air on the planet usually sits in a spinning blob near the north pole. This cold, polar air spins around until something weakens it. When that happens, “arms” of cold air will reach farther south, sometimes reaching down into the United States. One such arm of cold air will slide southward into the U.S., especially along and east of the Rocky Mountains. This means dangerously cold air will sweep across the country. Sub-zero low temperatures are likely from Billings to Denver east to Minneapolis and Kansas city on Thursday and Friday. Some areas won’t warm above freezing. Those that do will only barely do so. By Saturday, the Rocky Mountain states are warming considerably, and Denver will be back in the 40s for highs. The coldest air will stretch from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes down to the Ohio River Valley on Saturday and Sunday. The cold air surge will weaken quickly after Christmas and the coldest air will relax and become less cold early next week.

Snow Possible Tonight

Spotty snow is possible tonight through early Thursday morning. Snow has been falling this afternoon from Wyoming to northern Colorado. That snow will slide south overnight and move into our area around or just after midnight. The catch is, the snow will break up. The biggest potential for snow is up on the higher terrain. In the valleys, many areas may not see any snow at all. Those of us who get snow aren’t likely to get much more than a dusting. Heavy snow will fall across the mountains, making for a dangerous travel conditions through about midday Thursday.

Snow Accumulation

Snowfall accumulation will be limited to a dusting at most in the valleys of Western Colorado. In the High Country, up to nine inches of snow is likely. Locally higher amounts are possible.

Another round of snow is possible on Friday for Western Colorado.

Our Next 24 Hours

This evening will be clear. We’ll cool slowly from near 30 degrees around 6 PM to mid-to-upper 20s by midnight. Clouds will increase quickly after midnight, and some spotty snow is possible through morning. Snow will be limited in the valleys, and many areas will not get any snow at all. Snow will be more abundant up in the higher elevations east of Highway 50 between Grand Junction and Montrose. Low temperatures by morning will be near 16 degrees around Grand Junction, 19 degrees around Montrose, 17 degrees around Delta, and 14 degrees around Cortez. Thursday will start cloudy. Any lingering snow will end, and we’ll quickly brighten the sky and become mostly sunny. High temperatures will be near 30 degrees around Grand Junction, 31 degrees around Montrose, 32 degrees around Delta, and 41 degrees around Cortez.