DENVER (CBS4) - A quick change to very fall like weather has started in Colorado with the first of two storms arriving in the state. Snow will spread across the mountains on Tuesday while the Front Range experiences very gusty winds.
The strongest wind in the state will be in the southeast quadrant of the state where gusts could reach 60 mph. Areas just southeast of the immediate Denver metro area such as Castle Rock, Franktown, Kiowa and Elizabeth could also experience gusts up to 60 mph. All of these areas are under a High Wind Warning through 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Wind gusts for areas north of the warning including Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins could reach 40 mph at times.
The combination of wind and very low humidity in southeast Colorado will also elevate the fire danger to a critical level. Therefore is there a also a Red Flag Warning for Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Cañon City, Walsenburg, and La Junta.
The vast majority of the moisture with Tuesday's storm will stay in the mountains during the day on Tuesday. It will then jump onto the far Eastern Plains in the form of thunderstorms Tuesday evening and will essentially skip over the Front Range. That said, there is still a 20-30% chance for a few light rain showers around Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. There will be no snow at lower elevations.
It's of course a different story in the mountains where either a Winter Weather Advisory and Winter Storm Warning continues for many areas through Tuesday night.
For the Interstate 70 mountain corridor, the advisory is for areas west of Vail Pass where 4-8 inches of total accumulation is expected by daybreak on Wednesday. Areas east of Vail Pass including the mountains of Summit County will likely get 1-4 inches with isolated higher amounts possible. The Rocky Mountain National Park region is also under a Winter Weather Advisory for 3 to 9 inches of snow west of Estes Park and east of Grand Lake.
Farther south, the northern San Juan Mountains including Telluride, Lake City, and Ouray are also under a Winter Weather Advisory for 5-10 inches of snow.
And then south of those areas, Colorado's first Winter Storm Warning of the season is effect through 6 p.m. Tuesday for the southern San Juan Mountains including Silverton and Wolf Creek Pass where at least a foot of snow is expected.
Wednesday will be much quieter for most of Colorado as the state sits between two storm systems. The second storm is on track to arrive on Thursday causing more mountain snow and a much better chance for rain in the Denver metro area. This second storm is also colder and should bring the Denver the first freeze of the season on Friday morning. If enough moisture remains in the metro area when temperatures reach freezing, some light snow is possible around Denver but no accumulation is expected at this time below 6,000 feet. For areas above 6,000 feet including the foothills and Palmer Divide, the first accumulating snow of the season is possible early Friday morning.
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