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Here's why it probably won't snow in Denver later this week

Ignore the hype: There could be a few wet snowflakes in Denver and maybe a slushy few inches of snow in the foothills, but anything beyond that looks unlikely.

DENVER — Nobody wants snow – and more than that, meaningful precipitation – more than I do. 

But despite the hype on social media, it doesn't look like Friday and Saturday's storm is going to produce more than a few wet snowflakes – perhaps at best – in Denver and the immediate metro area. However, some beneficial cold rain does look likely on Friday and maybe into Saturday morning.

A cold and powerful storm system arriving from the north will bring Colorado much colder and potentially wetter weather starting on Thursday night. And while the mountains and foothills look likely to get some late May snow from this storm, the snow probably won't make its way down to Denver and nearby locations.

Computer forecast models (and many corners of social media) are excited about Denver-area snow chances, and that excitement only grew on Monday. Computer forecasts produced higher snowfall totals, with some models showing as much as 5-6 inches of snow into the Denver area on Friday and Saturday.

But while the chances of Denver seeing measurable snowfall are far from zero, it looks unlikely for several key reasons.

In 140 years of official Denver weather records, it's snowed this late in the winter season in Denver (May 20th or later) exactly 10 times. It's only snowed this late in the season twice in the last 47 years. 

So while it can absolutely happen, that would seem to indicate that you need a pretty unique set of circumstances to get snow this late in the winter season. That doesn't appear to be the case, despite the insistence of some computer models.

The bulk of the storm system stays to our north, and you'd really want the core of the system to pass over Denver and Colorado to create a better chance for snow here. That said, a trailing piece of energy should bring in enough moisture to create at least a chance for snow, and certainly some much colder temperatures.

Credit: College of DuPage Weather

Also, if you want snow this late in the year, it almost certainly has to take place during the night. The very high late May sun angle (along with our recent warmth) will make it nearly impossible for any snow to stick during the day. 

And while the snow could come on Friday night, it's looking like the majority of the precipitation may fall during the day on Friday, which would make measurable snowfall in Denver very unlikely.

So what does that all mean? You probably don't have enough cold air, or enough moisture, to produce snow in lower elevations like Denver. The foothills above 6,500 feet could be in line for a slushy few inches of snow under the current scenario, though.

We'll have to watch for the possibility of frost on Friday night and Saturday morning, especially in higher areas just outside of Denver. Right now, it looks like temperatures may fall to right around 32 degrees on Saturday morning. 

So after a snow-less April and what's likely to finish as our shortest snow season on record, we understand that you might want snow in Denver. But it doesn't look likely, at least right now.

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