National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Active Weather for the Rockies; Southern Plains Storm Taking Shape

Snow showers, squalls and strong winds will affect portions of the Cascades and Rockies through Wednesday. Meanwhile, a developing storm across the Southern Plains will track toward the Great Lakes into Thursday as severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and strong winds are forecast for the Mid-Lower Mississippi Valley. Heavy snow is possible for the Upper Midwest and wintry mix for the Northeast. Read More >

Overview

A strong cold front moved across the Western Slope of Colorado on the morning of Monday, February 24, 2020. The cold front, combined with a tight pressure gradient, instability aloft, and favorable upper level dynamics, produced strong winds at the surface. This led to the development of a snow squall which progressed through the Roaring Fork Valley between 7:30 and 8:30 AM on the 24th. The National Weather Service defines a snow squall as "an intense, but limited duration, period of moderate to heavy snowfall, accompanied by strong, gusty surface winds".

This was most certainly the case on the 24th as winds gusted from 55 to 65 MPH which led to significantly reduced visibility in blowing snow. This resulted in severe travel impacts along Interstate 70 with Vail Pass being closed for a couple of hours due to white-out conditions as the squall moved through. The Aspen Airport recorded visibility of 1/4 mile and a peak wind gust of 55 MPH with this squall.

The webcam at Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort captured the snow squall moving through, and numerous people witnessed this impressive but dangerous phenomenon.

SnowSquall_Radar
KGJX Radar Data Showing Snow Squall Moving Through on February 24, 2020
Before Squall (Credit: Aspen Snowmass) Beginning of Squall (Credit: Aspen Snowmass) Behind Squall (Credit: Aspen Snowmass)
View Before the Snow Squall Begins (Credit: Aspen Snowmass) View as the Snow Squall Begins to Move Through (Credit: Aspen Snowmass) Visibility Just After the Snow Squall Moved Through (Credit: Aspen Snowmass)
nws logo Media use of NWS Web News Stories is encouraged!
Please acknowledge the NWS as the source of any news information accessed from this site.
nws logo