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.
This is a dangerous storm ahead with potentially life-threatening impacts.
Roads – including stretches of Interstates 25, 70, 76 and 80 – in the High Plains and Front Range are likely to become impassable and may be closed this weekend.
You should avoid all travel in eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and northeast Colorado from the foothills eastward from late Friday night through Sunday. If not, you run the risk of being stranded. Some road closures may linger into at least Monday, given the prolific snow totals forecast.
The combination of wet, heavy snow and strong winds may damage trees and trigger power outages. The weight of the snow may also lead to roof collapses in some areas.
The storm also poses a danger to livestock left out in the open.
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.