The weather outside will be frightful on Thursday in Colorado

A snowy day at Washington Park. Nov. 17, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A snowy day at Washington Park. Nov. 17, 2022.

Get your blankets and layers ready — Thursday is going to be a cold one. 

The Front Range will see some of the coldest weather it has seen in decades, according to the National Weather Service.

Starting Wednesday night, highs across Colorado are expected to stay within the single digits, with lows dropping below zero. 

But forecasts and weather apps don’t necessarily reflect how cold it will actually feel.

“When there's wind, that heat gets blown off of you quickly and your body has to generate more heat just to warm your skin,” said NWS meteorologist Russell Danielson. “Even though the temperature is minus 15 degrees, if the winds are 30 miles an hour, the wind chill would be somewhere around minus 35.” 

Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo should expect those conditions. But in some parts of the Plains, it could feel as cold as minus 60 degrees. The Western Slope and the Four Corners will be slightly warmer, with highs in the teens and 20s. 

Weather officials are warning people to prepare for the weather Thursday, which could be fatal. Those who go outside are urged to wear multiple warm layers and to have emergency supplies handy in case they get stuck in the cold. Frostbite develops on exposed skin in 15 minutes or less at wind chill values starting at 18 below zero. 

Commuters and travelers should prepare for potential flash freezing on the roads. Some roads, like Interstate 70, will also receive snow, which could make visibility low and roads slippery.

Thursday is expected to be a busy day for travel due to Christmas. Denver International Airport officials are urging passengers to arrive early, but do not expect the cold to disrupt flight times. 

Those leaving their residence before the freeze should take several precautions to prevent the cold front from causing damage to property. If possible, running a thermostat prevents frozen pipes, as well as leaving a small drip on. Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets helps warm air reach the pipes. 

Some cities are opening 24-hour emergency warming shelters for those vulnerable to the cold. The Denver Coliseum will be open to anyone who needs shelter. Pueblo’s city government declared an emergency order that allows any religious organization to use its building for shelter.