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12 inches of snow possible near Colorado Springs as spring storm approaches

April 27, 2017 Updated: April 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm
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photo - A broken tree limb lies on a car parked along West Cucharras Street after a wet, heavy snowstorm hit Colorado Springs Tuesday, April 4, 2017. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
A broken tree limb lies on a car parked along West Cucharras Street after a wet, heavy snowstorm hit Colorado Springs Tuesday, April 4, 2017. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

Here's a look at the Friday and weekend weather forecast for the Colorado Springs area:

Friday morning update -

Northern El Paso County, Monument Ridge, Rampart Range, Pikes Peak and Teller County are all under a winter storm warning from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday. Roughly 6 to 12 inches of snow is expected in those areas with wind gusts up to 30 mph, the National Weather Service in Pueblo said.

A winter weather advisory covers the rest of El Paso County, including Colorado Springs. Four to 6 inches of snow is possible in the area with wind gust around 40 mph, the service said.

Meteorologist Emily Roehler, with Gazette news partner KKTV, doesn't expect Colorado Springs to see more than 5 inches of snow:

- Downtown Colorado Springs: 1-3 inches

- The Broadmoor: 2-5 inches

- Manitou Springs: 2-5 inches

- Rockrimmon: 2-5 inches

- Briargate: 2-5 inches

- Cimarron Hills: 1-3 inches

- Security: 1-3 inches

- Falcon: 2-5 inches

Outlying communities will see more:

- Woodland Park: 4-10 inches

- Cripple Creek: 4-10 inches

- Monument: 3-8 inches

- Black Forest: 3-6 inches

- Fountain: 1-3 inches

- Pueblo: 1-5 inches

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Branches and tree limbs still litter lawns and await pickup at the curb from the last spring snowstorm, but don't expect respite from wintry weather yet.

Another storm is heading toward Colorado Springs this weekend, posing an even greater danger for the area's urban forest still struggling to recover.

Wet snow and windy weather, which are in the forecast Friday and Saturday, are "going to be problematic with respect to foliage coming down," said Steve Hodanish, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

An early April snowstorm damaged well over 1,000 trees, local officials said. Now that city officials and property owners have cleaned up the majority of the debris, this weekend's storm might bring another blow.

"The potential is there," said Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist for Gazette news partner KKTV. Although what snow does fall will likely be heavy and wet, it's unclear how much snow the Colorado Springs area will see, he said.

Leaves are emerging, which increases the possibility of damage to tree limbs, Hodanish said, because there's more surface area where snow can accumulate and weigh down branches.

"It's going to be a wet snow, especially the earlier part of it," Hodanish said. The storm will also bring cold air, though, which might mean the snow will be less heavy and wet this time around.

"It's going to be a colder storm than what we've had to deal with," Bledsoe said. That's why he's encouraging people to drain exposed pipes so they don't crack.

The weather service predicted a high of 49 degrees Friday, 37 degrees Saturday and 49 degrees Sunday, with lows of 25 degrees Friday and Saturday night.

A slight chance of rainfall Friday afternoon is expected to become snow Friday night. The storm will linger overnight Saturday before moving out of the area Sunday morning, according to the weather service.

But meteorologists aren't sure how much accumulation the storm will bring.

As of Thursday afternoon, the city wasn't preparing for a major storm, a spokeswoman said.

"We're very confident it's going to be snow - the question is how much," Hodanish said. Accumulation of 3 to 5 inches Friday night and 2 to 4 inches Saturday is possible in Colorado Springs, according to the weather service.

But the storm might take a more southern route, favoring areas south of U.S. 50, Bledsoe said.

A winter storm watch is in place Friday evening through late Saturday night for areas across southeast Colorado, including Teller County and northern El Paso County.

"Snow and blowing snow at times is expected to create hazardous weather and travel conditions in the watch area," according to the watch, which was issued by the weather service. "In addition, heavy wet snow will be capable of producing tree and powerline damage."

Spring storms that bring heavy, wet snow to the Colorado Springs area aren't out of the ordinary, meteorologists say.

"I never quit thinking about snow until Mother's Day," Bledsoe said. "This is normal around here."

But the city has nearly doubled its average April snowfall - 4.9 inches - with a total of 8.9 inches of accumulation through Wednesday, weather service data shows.

The month's largest snowfall on record was in 1900, when 5.6 inches fell April 4 followed by 18 inches April 5. Record snowfall is 1.7 inches for April 28 and 7.2 inches for April 29.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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