(National Weather Service/Capital Weather Gang)

Kansas and Oklahoma are preparing for severe thunderstorms on Thursday. The Storm Prediction Center issued the highest outlook possible for tornadoes and hail. It could be a really intense severe-weather day in the Plains.

Travel one state west though, and you’ll find a winter storm warning. The distance that separates these two extremes on opposite ends of the spectrum — tornadoes and snow — is just a couple hundred miles.

While the Storm Prediction Center warned that thunderstorms could be deadly in Kansas and Oklahoma, two feet of snow piled up on the Copper Mountain ski resort in Colorado in just 10 hours.

Holy Moly. This is Copper Mountain (not open) getting 24+ inches in 10 hours between Wednesday midnight and Thursday 10am.

Posted by Joel Gratz on Thursday, May 18, 2017

“MISSING: Spring temps, stolen overnight,” the Fort Collins Police Department tweeted along with a sad, sad emoji of a wilting flower.

A strong low-pressure system is driving warm, humid air north into the Central United States, which is fueling severe weather. On the other side of that storm, where the winds blow from the north, cold air is rushing into a region with plenty of moisture to convert into snow.

The Weather Service expects snowfall rates to reach two inches per hour in the Front Range and the foothills. When it is all said and done, up to 40 inches of snow will have fallen at the highest elevations.

This is all but certain to wind up in the top 10 snowiest, late-season storms for Denver — maybe even in the top five. Through Friday evening, the Mile High City expects two to six inches, though the Weather Service notes that eight to 12 is more likely west of the city near the foothills.

A winter storm warning covers Denver, Fort Collins and mountains to the west until Friday evening. Parts of Wyoming, including Laramie and Cheyenne, also are in a winter storm warning until Friday afternoon.