mild conditions to end 2003, winter came back with a vengeance
early in 2004 starting the evening of Thursday the 1st, and pummeled
western and central portions of the state with snow and wind through Saturday the 3rd. While the
mountain areas received much needed snow - measured in feet in some
cases - the eastern slopes of the Southeastern mountains endured a
round of damaging winds in the storms onset.
An upper level jet stream moved into the area on Friday evening, bringing cold, moist, upslope flow to the state. This resulted in nearly continuous snowfall to the Colorado Mountains for most of the weekend. Winter Storm Warnings were in place across the mountains from Thursday evening through Sunday Morning in anticipation of a long snow event over the area. By Saturday, avalanche warnings were hoisted in many areas as over 100 avalanches plagued the state, closing highways and passes in several locations in Colorado.
Wind damage was also reported with the onset of the storm. As strong jet stream winds moved across the area late Thursday, some of these winds translated down to the surface - mainly along the eastern slopes of the Pikes Peak region, Sangre De Cristo Mountains, and the Wet Mountains. The Broadmoor Bluffs area in Colorado Springs was one of the areas hardest hit, with strong winds occurring mainly between 11 pm and 1 am. Damage reports included 2 under-construction homes collapsing, light posts snapped, fences down, and windows broken. Wind equipment all along the eastern slopes of the mountains recorded damaging gusts in many locations: 64 mph at Fort Carson, 71 mph at Air Force Academy, 75 mph near Cheyenne Mountain, 79 mph in Pueblo West and 80 mph west of Trinidad.
Some preliminary snow amounts reported to NWS Pueblo, for the period Thursday night through Saturday evening, include: