DENVER (KDVR) — The storm system that brought wind and snow to parts of Colorado Monday night into Tuesday was a tough storm to forecast.
Parts of Colorado, like the mountains and Eastern Plains, saw big totals while Denver only saw a few flurries with no accumulation. Iliff, on the northeast plains of Colorado, picked up 10 inches of snow, while Downtown Denver picked up zero.
This storm was all about the placement of low pressure and the wind direction. Those two factors prevented Denver and the Front Range from seeing any big snowfall totals.
The map below shows the low pressure setting up north and east of Denver by midday Tuesday. This placement brought winds out of the north/northwest to Metro Denver and the Front Range, which is called a downsloping wind.
Winds out of the north/northwest mean wind will flow down the slope of the Rockies and Cheyenne Ridge into Denver. As the wind sinks, it warms via compression, leading to dry conditions on the Front Range.
If the center of low pressure shifted further south or west, it would have given Denver a better chance to see higher amounts of snowfall.
When low pressure is sitting east of Eastern Colorado, it means that the northeast corner of the state sees the very back end of the precipitation from the storm system, which typically results in a very sharp cutoff for where the big totals will be.
That is why just 100 miles apart, one area can see up to 10 inches of snow while the other sees nothing.