Dec 20, 2022 - News

Arctic blast to bring bitterly cold temperatures to Colorado

Colorado's high temperature forecast for Thursday. Photo: The National Weather Service

Coloradans should prepare for dangerously cold conditions later this week, the National Weather Service is warning.

Driving the news: An arctic blast poised to barrel across much of the country is expected to bring subzero temperatures Wednesday night through Friday morning, with wind chills dropping as low as -50° across the northeast plains, according to NWS projections.

  • Denver could see temperatures fall to -12° late Wednesday, with 1 to 3 inches of snow. On Thursday, the high is expected to hit just -2°, while lows sit around -11°.
  • Forecasters say the frigid weather may mean treacherous travel, though officials at Denver International Airport tell Axios it's too soon to tell whether flights will be delayed.

Threat level: The bitter cold means exposed skin is at risk of frostbite in 10 minutes or less, per the NWS.

State of play: The city of Denver plans to open a 24-hour warming center at the Denver Coliseum on Wednesday.

  • All open recreation centers and libraries will also be made available as warming centers during regular operating hours on Thursday and Friday.
  • Current policy allows warming shelters to open when temperatures below 10 degrees are forecast or at least 6 inches of snow is expected. However, city officials are considering adjusting those thresholds and hoping to finalize the cold weather sheltering plan by early next year, Axios Denver has learned.

Yes, but: Amid an influx of migrants from the southern U.S. border, it remains unclear whether space could be limited in Denver's emergency warming shelters.

  • At least two recreation centers housed 408 migrants as of Monday afternoon, city officials reported. Another 153 were located in partner emergency shelters.
  • City officials did not immediately respond to inquiries from Axios Denver seeking clarification.

What's next: The frigid temperatures aren't predicted to last long. Sunny skies and a high of 51° are forecast for Christmas Day. Phew.

Flashback: The last time Denver saw a high below 0° was Feb. 5, 2014, the NWS reports.


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