DENVER — Colorado is bracing for a dangerous mix of sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and snow, just as the holiday travel season begins.
An arctic blast of frigid weather that arrived in the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday will slide into Colorado on Wednesday, gripping the state in a deep freeze.
Lasting from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning, the system is likely to bring the coldest air Colorado has experienced since 1990, with wind chill as cold as 60 degrees below zero across the eastern plains of Colorado, and as low as 35 degrees below zero along the Interstate 25 corridor.
The front's arrival in the Denver metro area Wednesday afternoon may drop the temperature 30 degrees in an hour.
Snow will accompany the bone-chilling cold Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Two to three inches of snow is expected along the Interstate 25 corridor and eastern plains. Colorado's mountains can expect three to 12 inches of new snow.
Winter Weather Advisories, Winter Storm Warnings, and Wind Chill Warnings have been posted for counties across Colorado.
The heaviest snow along the Front Range will be from 6 p.m. Wednesday to midnight.
Thursday's high temperature in Denver will stay below zero degrees. The forecasted low in Denver on Thursday night is 17 degrees below zero. The all-time record low for Denver is 29 below zero.
Temperatures will begin to recover somewhat on Friday and by Christmas Day, Denver’s high could reach 50 degrees.
With temperatures this cold, you should plan to limit time outside, especially any time outside with exposed skin. At five degrees below zero and a wind speed of 30 mph, frostbite will happen in about 10 minutes, according to UCHealth.
Frostbite is when the skin and other tissues get damaged from exposure to freezing temperature and happens when exposed skin gets very cold causing ice crystals to form. This leads to the blood vessels in that area freezing, causing the affected areas to go without blood, nutrients and oxygen.
READ MORE: Wind chill and frostbite: Safety tips
TRAFFIC CENTER: Keep up on crashes and travel times here
READ MORE: Complete 7-day weather forecast
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