DENVER -- Temperatures and weather conditions will go from one extreme to the other in the Denver metro area over the next 72 hours.
The warm before the storm will settle in Thursday, with highs spiking into the mid-50s in Denver, and the lower 60s in the south metro area, including Centennial and Castle Rock.
But that won't be the case everywhere as locations to the north, including Fort Collins and Greeley, will struggle to reach the 40s. Clouds will gradually increase and winds will kick up from 10 to 30 mph.
Snow begins in the mountains on Thursday afternoon and will continue Friday before ending Saturday morning.
Most ski areas could see 1-2 feet of total accumulation. There will be 8-16 inches at the Eisenhower Tunnel and 3-8 inches in the foothills.
Snow will move into the Denver metro area and along the Front Range on Friday night and will continue into Saturday morning.
Expect 2-4 inches of total snowfall for Denver, Highlands Ranch, Parker, Erie, Greeley and Fort Collins, with 3-8 inches in the foothills.
As the storm moves out, temperatures will plunge, topping out at zero on Saturday, with figures below zero most of the day.
Temperatures will drop to about minus-11 early Sunday morning and will only warm into the mid-teens for the Broncos game against the New England Patriots, though it will be sunny.
Factors are combining to create some of the worst avalanche danger on Saturday in years.
It will start with warm mountain temperatures and snowfall, then 70-100 mph winds above treeline. Add an unusually unstable base layer and 1-2 feet of new accumulation, and the danger will be extremely high.AlertMe