Snow, freezing weather brings early winter to much of Colorado

Much of Colorado has plunged right into winter after a long summer, as temperatures dipped below freezing and many cities got snow Monday.

Temperatures surged into the 80s on Oct. 2 and 3 in Colorado Springs, approaching daily heat records. But over the weekend, they plummeted, with highs of 49 and 44 degrees, respectively, on Sunday and Monday, reports the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

And the weather isn’t warming back up any time soon. A freeze warning and chances of snow overnight Monday into Tuesday were predicted for a large swath of Colorado, from the Wyoming border to El Paso County’s southern edge, followed by a freeze watch overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

Low temperatures are expected from the upper 20s to lower 30s Tuesday morning, says the freeze warning for El Paso County. “Tender plants could be damaged or killed by the cold. Outdoor irrigation systems and other exposed plumbing could freeze.”

While some awoke to a dusting of snow in the Pikes Peak region Monday, Colorado Springs hasn’t seen its first snowfall of the season, the weather service says. But the city did get about one-fifth of an inch of rain Monday at Colorado Springs Airport, the city’s official measurement site.

The average date for Colorado Springs’ first measurable snowfall is Oct. 26, weather service data show. The average date of the city’s first fall freeze is Oct. 1.

As snow accumulates by the inch in the mountains, some ski resorts plan to open this month. Freezing weather is forecast this week for Summit County, and the snow guns are out at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas, the two vying again to open first.

Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s chief operating officer, wrote on his blog that the resort saw its “snowiest morning so far” Monday.

“We should see a little more snow today, and we should have good snowmaking temperatures tonight,” says the 7:45 a.m. post. “This ought to be a good week.”

Loveland goaded its competitor in a tweet Monday morning: “Let’s get Colorado open!”

Three ski resorts have announced opening dates: Wolf Creek, Nov. 2; Winter Park, Nov. 14; and Copper Mountain, Nov. 16.

Colorado Springs should get highs of 44 degrees Tuesday, 48 degrees Wednesday and 51 degrees Thursday — far below the days’ average high of 65 degrees, the weather service predicted.

Tuesday morning brings patchy fog and a 30 percent chance of rain and snow showers, then a 50 percent chance of rain showers after noon, the weather service says.

Tuesday night has a 40 percent chance of rain showers, which could mix with snow after 7 p.m.

Then the weather is expected to dry out, with partly sunny skies Wednesday and Thursday.

Article courtesy of Ellie Mulder at the Gazatte

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