Degrees of difficulty: Arctic blast pushes Colorado into deep freeze

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DENVER -- The warm, dry conditions that have dominated fall along the Front Range changed dramatically Monday morning when an Arctic blast moved in that quickly dropped temperatures more than 30 degrees in a short time period.

It reached 62 degrees at Denver International Airport just before 9 a.m. before the front slid south and dropped the temperature to 30 degrees just three hours later as well as bringing strong, gusty winds that dropped the wind chill to 17 degrees.

A rain/snow mix is possible after 2 p.m. with precipitation changing over to snow during the afternoon commute.


Denver will see perhaps up to a quarter of an inch of snow, but some areas could see up to 1 inch of snow, with up to 2 inches possible across the Palmer Divide and the foothills. The high mountains and ski areas could see 2 to 6 inches by Tuesday morning.

But the story will be the temperatures, as lows Tuesday morning will plunge to about 10 degrees and the high Tuesday only getting into the low to mid-20s.

Wednesday could be even colder, with highs only in the teens and a low in the single digits, with more snow possible Wednesday into Thursday. Thursday morning lows also will be in the single digits.

There's the possibility of another cold blast coming Saturday night into Sunday.

Once one-tenth of snowfall is recorded at Denver International Airport, it will mark the first official snowfall of the 2014-15 season. On Sept. 12, a trace amount of snow fell at DIA, not enough for it to officially count. Had there been, it would have marked the third-earliest recorded snowfall in Denver.

Instead, it has been unseasonably warm and dry since then, with nary a trace of snow. If snow is recorded Monday or Tuesday at DIA, it will not crack into the top five for latest date of the first snowfall of the season.

The latest first snowfall in Denver was Nov. 21, 1934, when 1 inch fell.

This Nov. 5, 2014 photo provided by NASA shows a picture captured by NASA's Aqua satellite of Typhoon Nuri. (Photo: NASA)

This Nov. 5, 2014 photo provided by NASA shows a picture captured by NASA's Aqua satellite of Typhoon Nuri. (Photo: NASA)

Thanks, Nuri!

This cold weather is all thanks to a whopping Pacific tropical cyclone in the North Pacific.

Super Typhoon Nuri was akin to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy rolled into one. It had the strength of a category 5 hurricane.

It is the strongest Northern Pacific post-tropical cyclone on record, the NWS said.

Its remnants blew up north over Alaska's Aleutian Islands last week, and when it plowed into cold air, that added violent energy to the storm, mirroring what happened with Superstorm Sandy in the Atlantic two years ago.

That earned it the moniker "bomb cyclone." That's an actual weather term.

The hybrid storm rammed into the jet stream, causing it to whip south, dragging Arctic air down with it.

It also continued to spin, further fanning down polar cold.