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Snow heads towards the Rockies, bringing drought relief

weather map


A winter storm is set to bring much-needed snow to the central and southern Rockies

Key Highlights

Threats: Snow, strong winds, power outages

States affected: AZ, CO, IA, MN, NE, NM, NV, SD, UT, WI, WY

When: Thursday, December 9 - Saturday, December 11

A Welcomed Change

A strong system crossing over Washington state Monday night is forecast to continue moving east into Wyoming and Colorado later this week bringing snow to areas hard hit by drought. The welcomed winter weather is also set to impact parts of New Mexico and Arizona, helping to rescue ski resorts that took a hard hit from recent rainstorms. Snow will develop across central Nevada on Thursday morning and move eastward into the central Rockies by that evening. Snow is also expected across portions of southeastern Wyoming and into the central Plains by Thursday night. The greatest accumulations, up to 24 inches, will occur across the higher elevations of the Wasatch Range and the central Rockies. Up to a foot of snow could impact the heavy traveled I-70 corridor, causing transportation delays. Strong winds, with gusts up to 60 mph, can also occur across portions of the southern Rockies, bringing with it potential property damage and power outages. 


In Colorado, history may be made: Denver could break its record for the longest snow drought later this week. The Mile High City has not received any measurable snow since April 21, which would make this the latest first snowfall on record, according to the National Weather Service. The previously held record for the city was November 21, 1934. Should Denver miss out on the “white stuff,” it could still make history by breaking the longest measurable snow drought on record from 1887 when it did not snow for 235 consecutive days. As of Monday, December 6, accumulating snow had not been reported for 229 consecutive days.

snow outlook

 Businesses in the region need to keep a close eye on this system and should:

  • Anticipate business interruption due to power outages
  • Expect ground logistics disruption due to road closures and snow-covered roads
  • Prioritize cold weather concerns for outdoor workers
  • Ensure all employees and visitors on-site have a way to be notified of winter weather impacts

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