At a Glance
A massive winter storm will strike the Rockies and High Plains this weekend.
Parts of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska could pick up multiple feet of snow.
This storm could cripple travel, down trees and trigger power outages.
Blizzard warnings have been issued for southeastern Wyoming to the Nebraska panhandle, including Laramie, Wyoming. Travel in this area will be impossible and dangerous with white out conditions and wind gusts up to 60 mph.
Winter storm warnings have been issued for portions of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska and South Dakota, including Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado. Travel could be impossible in those areas.
Advisories have been issued in areas where snowfall could make travel tricky.
Xylia is currently bringing snow and rain to portions of the Four Corners region. Precipitation will expand northward Saturday.
This will be a slow-moving system, meaning for many, once it starts, it will take a while to pass.
Here’s when snow may reach your area:
Winter Storm Xylia’s heaviest snow will shift into gear late Saturday through Sunday before gradually tapering off Sunday night into early Monday.
Winds may gust up to 60 mph Saturday night into Sunday. These winds will lead to low visibilities, blowing and drifting snow, and dangerous driving conditions, especially for high-profile vehicles. Power outages are possible.
East to northeast winds will intensify Saturday and persist into Sunday, which could lead to blizzard conditions in open country.
This is when the storm’s most serious and dangerous impacts are expected.
Another wintry system is expected in the West early next week, and it may limit the dry weather time in the Rockies.
How Much Snow and Potential Impacts
There is relatively high confidence that the Interstate 25 corridor from southeast Wyoming into northern Colorado and adjacent foothills will pick up 1 to 2 feet of snow.
This includes Colorado’s Front Range Urban Corridor of Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder and Wyoming’s capital city, Cheyenne.
This one-foot-plus snow potential also extends into at least the western Nebraska Panhandle, as well as the Black Hills of western South Dakota.
Peak snow totals in the foothills and mountains west of Cheyenne and Denver could reach 4 feet.
Snow may fall at the rate of several inches per hour at times Saturday and Sunday and could be accompanied by thunder and lightning.
Spring snowstorms are the norm in the High Plains and Front Range of the Rockies each year.
In Cheyenne, Denver and other parts of the High Plains, March is the snowiest month of the year.
But this may not be just another spring snowstorm.
In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Xylia could be its heaviest snowstorm on record. The two-day and three-day snowstorm of record was from November 1979, when just over 25 inches of snow pummeled the city just before Thanksgiving.
Xylia could also be the heaviest snowstorm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, since a mid-April 1927 storm dumped 25.8 inches of snow in three days in the western Nebraska town.
In Denver, the National Weather Service tweeted Wednesday that Xylia had a “low to medium potential” to approach the March 2003 historical snowstorm.
That March 17-19, 2003, snowstorm dumped 31.8 inches of snow on the Mile High City, its second heaviest snowstorm dating to 1881, according to the NWS.
According to Storm Data, this heavy, wet snow lead to roof collapses to homes and businesses. At least 258 structures were damaged in Denver.
The weight of the snow tore a gash into the tent roof of Denver International Airport, forcing an evacuation of part of the terminal.
The foothills and mountains west of Denver were buried by 50 to 87 inches of snow. Avalanches closed many foothills and mountain roads, including Interstate 70 in both directions for some time, stranding travelers. Thousands of residents in the foothills of Jefferson County, Colorado were trapped in their homes by snow-choked roads.
Up to 135,000 customers lost power during the storm, some for several days.
The 2003 storm was the costliest snowstorm on record in Colorado, with an estimated $93 million damage.
Check back with us at weather.com for updates to this forecast.