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Colorado weather: Bitter cold leading up to Christmas?

A blast of Arctic air could skirt Colorado in the week before Christmas, potentially bringing sub-zero low temperatures to northeast Colorado.

COLORADO, USA — Sure, it's not usually warm in the leadup to Christmas. But we could be looking at temperatures well below average across northeastern Colorado as Santa gets ready to fly into town.

>Video above: Here's why you shouldn't rely on your phone's built-in weather app.

The good news, though: Some wildly cold scenarios that computer forecast models indicated earlier this week probably won't happen. The bulk of the cold air will stay off to our north and east.

The question is whether we will get sideswiped by a deep and bitterly cold plume of Arctic air. 

Let's start by backing up a bit. A big plume of Arctic air will plunge southward next week, bringing temperatures 30 to perhaps as much as 50 degrees below average deep into the continental U.S. 

Computer models have been hinting for several days that this blast of colder air would reach the lower 48. The question now is whether this will push as far south as Colorado, or whether it'll stay off to our north and east.

After showing ridiculously cold air blasting through the Rockies on Tuesday, computer models now appear to be shifting the bulk of the coldest air off to our east. That means the Midwest and High Plains would get several days of sub-zero cold, while Colorado would just get a relatively gentle taste of that Arctic air.

And as of Wednesday, it looked like the coldest air would stay off to Colorado's northeast. That would mean at least a day or two of highs in the teens or 20s in Denver, with lows at or perhaps below zero. The coldest period looks to be next Thursday and Friday, during which some mountain locations could drop well below zero.

While that's 20-30 degrees below the average for late December, it's not nearly as bad as it could be if the heart of that Arctic airmass pushes through the state. 

We'll keep you posted on this as it gets closer. 


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