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Colorado Braces for Up to 18 Inches of Snow This Weekend: Snowstorm Alert

DENVER, COLORADO Colorado is on the verge of experiencing a significant snowstorm, with forecasters predicting heavy snowfall from Thursday night through Sunday, impacting travel and outdoor activities across the state.

Joel Gratz, a forecaster at Open Snow, has expressed confidence in the storm’s trajectory, anticipating snow crossing the state in waves. “The deepest snow totals will likely be in the central and northern mountains, with many areas expecting 6-16 inches,” Gratz noted. Meanwhile, the southern mountains are forecasted to receive slightly lower amounts, in the 6-10+ inch range.

Meteorologist Chris Tomer echoes these predictions, highlighting the influence of a jet stream and an atmospheric river contributing to significant snowfall. Tomer’s estimates suggest substantial accumulation across Colorado’s popular ski destinations, with Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs potentially receiving up to 18 inches of snow. Vail, Snowmass, and other areas are also bracing for impressive snow totals.

  • Crested Butte (18”)
  • Steamboat Springs (18”)
  • Vail (16”)
  • Snowmass (15”)
  • Loveland (14”)
  • Cameron Pass (14”)
  • Breckenridge (13”)
  • Silverton (12”)
  • Winter Park (11”)
  • Monarch (10”)
  • Telluride (10”)

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for northeast and north central Colorado. Light snow is expected to begin tonight, with heavier snowfall and strong winds anticipated over the weekend, particularly near the Wyoming border.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in place across most of the southern San Juan mountains and Grand Mesa region from Thursday morning through Friday night, with up to 8 inches of snow expected above 10,000 feet. Authorities warn of moderate-to-significant travel impacts throughout this time period.

Safety Tips for Mountain Recreation and Travel

With the incoming storm, residents and visitors planning to travel or recreate in the mountains this weekend should exercise caution. Here are essential safety tips to consider:

  1. Stay Informed: Continuously monitor weather updates and road conditions. Changing weather can lead to sudden closures or hazardous driving conditions.

  2. Prepare Your Vehicle: Ensure your vehicle is equipped for winter conditions, including snow tires, chains, and an emergency kit with blankets, food, water, and a flashlight.

  3. Avoid Unnecessary Travel: If possible, postpone travel plans until after the storm passes. If travel is necessary, allow extra time and expect delays.

  4. Outdoor Safety: Those engaging in outdoor activities such as skiing or hiking should be prepared for severe weather conditions. Carry appropriate gear, including extra layers, waterproof clothing, and a means of communication.

  5. Avalanche Awareness: Increased snowfall can elevate avalanche risks. Check local avalanche forecasts and be prepared with proper avalanche safety equipment if venturing into backcountry areas.

  6. Stay on Designated Paths: In snowy conditions, it’s crucial to stick to marked trails to avoid getting lost or inadvertently entering dangerous areas.

  7. Emergency Contacts: Keep emergency numbers handy and inform someone about your travel or hiking plans, including expected return times.

By following these safety tips, Coloradans and visitors can help ensure their weekend activities are both enjoyable and safe, despite the challenging weather conditions.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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