From Subtropics to Snow

A week after leaving the balmy, subtropical weather on Longboat Key, Florida, I am back at our Littleton, Colorado, farm, anticipating a snowstorm tonight.  Of course, as often occurs in this region, there are no clues this morning; bright sunshine, crystal clear air and mild temperatures envelop the Front Range urban corridor.

But yesterday, as I drove westward across the Great Plains, southerly winds were sweeping Gulf of Mexico moisture to the north, priming the region for severe storms in the coming days.  This morning, a potent cold front stretches across the Great Basin and Northern Rockies, poised to drop through the Heartland; later today, as the cold front approaches, clouds will build along the Front Range and, overnight, an upslope flow behind the front will drop up to four inches of snow (per the current forecast) on Metro Denver.

Out on the High Plains, blizzard warnings have been posted; 60 mph winds are expected to combine with the modest snowfall to produce white-out conditions.  Further east, across the Central and Southern Plains and Mississippi Valley, the powerful system will likely ignite severe thunderstorms, some of which may spawn tornadoes.  As winter delivers its first major punch, the Heartland will bear most of its impact.