A significant early season snowstorm occurred across northeast and north central Colorado from
Tuesday, October 27th through Thursday, October 29th, 2009. Storm total accumulations ranged
from four to 12 inches across the northeast plains of Colorado, to between 12 and 26 inches
across the Front Range metro areas (see map below). Even heavier snowfall occurred in the
Front Range Mountains and Foothills with up to 46 inches of snow reported in the foothills
northwest of Denver.
This powerful early season storm initially moved into the Pacific Northwest on Monday, October
26th, and then strengthened as it reached southern Utah by Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, a cold
front pushed quickly southward across the high plains and through northeast Colorado late
Tuesday afternoon. The combination of northeasterly upslope flow behind the front and
increasing moisture and lift associated with the developing storm system produced a period of
heavy snowfall along the Front Range Tuesday evening.
After a brief lull in the storm late Tuesday night, another round of heavy snow developed across
the Front Range Wednesday morning as the storm system centered itself near the Four Corners.
Snowfall rates averaged close to 1 inch per hour across the Front Range metro areas during the
day Wednesday, with up to 2 inches per hour noted in the foothills. Fortunately, most major
roads and highways in the urban areas remained warm enough to melt most of the snowfall.
However, heavy wet snowfall accumulated on trees and resulted in some broken branches and
scattered power outages. Another slight lull in the storm then occurred Wednesday night.
By the early morning hours of Thursday, October 29th, the storm system began to move northeast.
This finally allowed the heavier snowfall to shift eastward from the Front Range to the eastern
plains of Colorado. In addition, strong north winds frequently gusted up to 40 mph across the
plains, which produced widespread blizzard conditions east of Denver. Both Interstate 70 and
Interstate 76 were closed east of the Denver metro area due to the blizzard. Several other roads
and major highways including Highway 34 and Highway 36 were closed as well. Meanwhile,
conditions across the Front Range including the I-25 urban corridor slowly improved as snowfall
gradually decreased through the day. The blizzard conditions across the northeast plains of
Colorado finally abated during the early morning hours of Friday, October 30th as the storm
moved slowly away from the region