National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Moderating Temperatures for the East; Developing Storm for the Plains

Temperatures will continue to moderate across the east half of the nation through at least the first half of this week. A developing storm across the Southern Plains may bring some heavy rain from the Plains to the lower Great Lakes region, a wintry mixture and accumulating snow across the Midwest and Upper Mississippi Valley into mid-week. The west remains unsettled with occasional rain and snow. Read More >

Overview

A potent late season winter storm brought winter back in full force for much of the region with significant snowfall in many mountain locations and heavy rainfall to the lower valleys. Plenty of moisture and a powerful cold front accompanied this system which lowered snow levels down to some valley floors including Montrose, Colorado (elevation around 5700 feet) where snowfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches were measured near town. This storm became an intense upslope snowfall event with some of the northern Colorado mountains receiving near or in excess of 2 feet! While the cold front had worked through the region by Thursday morning (May 18), impressive wraparound moisture kept showers falling through Friday evening (May 19) before drier air finally worked into the area from the west.

Travel was impacted over a majority of high elevation roads where snowpacked and icy conditions developed with periods of reduced visibility due to blowing snow. Areas along Interstate 70 were greatly impacted with portions of the interstate being closed near Vail Pass due to multiple spun out vehicles.

The cold air that filtered into the region behind the front resulted in a drastic decrease in temperatures with daytime highs cooling some 20 degrees and overnight lows plummeting back below freezing for many lower valleys. These subfreezing temperatures were a big wake-up call for early blooming, sensitive vegetation in areas like the Four Corners and Upper Dolores River Basin.

Storm Total Snowfall from May 17-19, 2017
Storm Total Snowfall from May 17 - 19, 2017
Below Powderhorn Ski Resort Cedaredge, CO Marble, CO

Below Powderhorn Ski Resort, Grand Mesa, CO

(Credit: Mike Meyers)

Cedaredge, CO

(Credit: Jenn Miller)

Marble, CO

(Credit: Diane Gallagher)

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