It's time to unpack the parkas as fast as possible — Thursday, Colorado Springs will go from bikini to sweater. 

In true Colorado fashion, temperatures in the city could drop from a high of nearly 80 degrees on Wednesday to a high of 28 degrees Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo. The cold will be accompanied by up to 3 inches of snow and more cold. The low into Friday morning is expected to drop to 12 degrees.

Colorado is no stranger to extreme temperature swings. In February 2018, the temperature in Denver plummeted 72 degrees in only 40 hours, according to the weather service in Boulder. 

Driving in Colorado snow: 9 things to know to stay safe

Further south in Pueblo, the biggest swing was in December 2016, when temperatures tumbled 88 degrees in one day, weather service data shows.

The fast freeze Thursday is thanks to a potent storm system that's past the northern Rockies, said weather service meteorologist Kathy Torgerson. But the cold front isn't unusual, she said. It's especially common for Colorado in the spring and fall.

"It's par for the course," Torgerson said. "We get these every year ... We've been so warm ahead of this event, and that's not usual either, but it tends to catch people off guard when something like this comes around."

Forecast: Wintry blast likely around Colorado Springs after spurt of summer

With snow expected to make its debut by Thursday, national transportation organizations warned motorists to prepare for the fall's first frost.

The American Automobile Association told motorists to check tire pressures and tread.

12-plus inches of snow expected on Pikes Peak this week

"Tires begin to lose their resistance to wet and wintry conditions with as much as 1/8" of tread remaining," according to AAA. "Any less than that and motorists are at a significant risk of losing traction."

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist with a specific interest in space exploration and environment. She watches way too much Star Trek and is working toward her rescue scuba divers certification. Liz joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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