Colorado Springs faces weather whiplash as snow and rain move through the state this week after a long stretch of warm, sunny days.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo predicts a mix of snow and rain through Saturday. Forecasters say the storm will bring little accumulation but packs freezing temperatures that could kill off budding blossoms and tangle morning commutes.
But the storms also bring extra snowpack to ski resorts and will help fill mountain reservoirs.
An upper-level system lingering over Nevada is expected to bring pulses of moisture to Colorado. As the storm heads east during the week, the greatest chances of snow and rain are on Friday, said Brad Carlberg, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.
Snow is not expected to stick because the ground gradually warmed up during last week's spring-like days. So with temperatures hovering above freezing during the day, any overnight flakes are expected to melt into a slushy slurry, Carlberg said.
Colorado Springs' snow manager Shaun Lucero said his team is ready to respond if morning commutes go awry.
Gardeners and plant lovers need to get ready, too, Dan Hopper, owner of Rick's Garden Center, said.
"They need to take steps to protect plants already put in the ground from freeze covering with plastic or frost glass, to keep ambient temperature higher than outside," Hopper said.
Trees also require care by covering budding limbs with burlap sacks or blankets. Trees and plants already in bloom could lose their blossoms, although most vegetation is still coming out of dormancy and will be fine, Hopper said.
While meteorologists anticipate moisture from the storm, Hopper said plants will still require watering when warm weather returns next week.
Colorado Springs is likely to dodge significant accumulations of snow, but mountain ski resorts and the heart of Interstate 70 could see up to a foot of snow through the week, Brian Wimer, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said.
"There won’t be much Wednesday night, but snow during the day Thursday becomes heavier Thursday night, making its way into the Front Range," Wimer said, adding that next week's weather will be much drier.