Meteorologists are trying to get a handle on predictions for a "high impact storm" loaded with snow and headed for Colorado's mountains and Front Range later this week.
The storm now is brewing over the Pacific Ocean and is expected to head eastward to dump rain and snow on the state. It starts in Colorado Springs Thursday night and possibly sooner in Denver, said Mark Wankowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather service.
"We're still trying to figure out how this storm is going to evolve," he said Tuesday night.
Storms can change to bring more or less snow than forecast depending on their direction, Wankowski said.
"Look at the forecast if you have travel plans because it will continue to change and evolve," he cautioned.
Some forecast models indicate several feet of snow in areas east of the Continental Divide, Joel Gratz a meteorologist for OpenSnow.com wrote.
But other meteorologists cautioned it was too early in the week to predict accumulation totals for a storm likely to not arrive in the Pikes Peak region until Friday.
KKTV chief meteorologist Brian Bledsoe said Tuesday night he is comfortable making predictions three or four days before a storm's arrival, as long as residents realize the snowfall amounts are subject to change as the event gets closer.
"Forecasting snow here is the toughest thing we do," he said. "But for some of us, this snow could have a very high impact."
Bledsoe currently predicts 12 to 14 inches of snowfall in the northern parts of Colorado Springs, with about 26 inches in Monument and nearly 25 inches in Denver.
“I think the farther north and northwest you live, that’s where we could really see some big totals,” he said.
Slow-moving snowstorms like the one headed for Colorado are fairly common this time of year, Bledsoe said.
"They move slowly, and remain strong," he said. "This is a typical storm for March and April."
Bledsoe said the heavy, wet snow and high winds could mean power failures throughout the city and will likely cause problems on the roadways.
“If you have travel planned, especially north out of Colorado Springs, this is going to be a big problem for you,” he said.
The veteran meteorologist warns residents to monitor credible sources for weather updates, and avoid the panic and hyperbole that can run rampant on social media and other sources.
"When you get measured data, instead of the hype, you're better equipped for what's coming," he said.
Winds are not expected to be as drastic as 2019's storm but rain and snow are coming, Wankowski said, it's just a matter of how much.