According to a report on OpenSnow.com, 21 inches of snow could hit Colorado in upcoming days. As stated in their report, this is on the high-end of the forecast and a less likely scenario, but there's a chance totals reach this level and also a chance that a second wave follows later in the week. With fall colors just starting to pop around the state, some readers have asked whether or not this will impact the experience of traveling leaf peepers.
For starters, it's that time of the year when those on Colorado's roads will need to start being aware that they may encounter wintery weather on their way to and from their final destination. It's crucial to pack the truck with the essentials should a stranding occur.
A major temperature swing and snow could also impact the fall show that Colorado's trees put on, particularly the state's aspens.
A cold snap following weeks of hot weather can be hard on trees, making fall colors much less impressive. Generally, aspens tend to be the most vibrant if they're able to slowly change colors during a gradual temperature shift.
However, one thing that may benefit those seeking to find groves of fall colors this year is the relative lack of drought. According to data from September 14, 37 percent of the state is experiencing a level of drought this year (with 65 percent experiencing drought OR abnormal dryness). This compares to nearly 99 percent of the state experiencing drought at the same time last year (and 100 percent experiencing drought OR abnormal dryness). Drought is one thing that can have a negative impact on fall colors, so the relative lack of drought could be a good thing for fall colors.
The real question is going to be how cold temperatures will get at lower elevations, particularly in sub-alpine areas where aspens tend to grow. Snow and colder temperatures are currently expected to stay in higher elevation areas and if that ends up being the case, there will be less of an impact on fall colors below.
Either way, fall is here. If you've got a chance to see some aspens, now is starting to be the time to do it. Use the OutThere Colorado fall color guide to determine when fall colors are supposed to pop in different parts of the state.
As wintery weather starts to hit Colorado, OutThere Colorado recommends several websites for forecasting. The National Weather Service is the place to go for official alerts. OpenSnow.com is the place to go for ski resort-based information. Mountain-Forecast.com is a great resource for winter hiking. Always be aware of the forecast prior to embarking on any adventure and be prepared for changing weather and unpredicted weather swings.