Winter Storm Alert Colorado

Winter Storm Alert: Colorado Braces for 12-18″of Snow and Significant Travel Impacts

DENVER, COLORADO – As Colorado welcomes the first weekend of March, residents and visitors are gearing up for a powerful winter storm that is expected to sweep across the state, causing significant travel impacts from Saturday evening through Monday morning. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the mountains and a Winter Weather Advisory for the mountain valleys, highlighting the potential for hazardous conditions across the region.

Winter Storm Forecast Highlights

The storm is poised to deliver a hefty snowfall, with accumulations ranging from 9 to 18 inches in the mountains, accompanied by strong winds. Blowing snow and visibility reductions are anticipated, making travel in the mountainous areas especially treacherous. Wind gusts could reach alarming speeds of 60 to 75 mph, particularly above the timberline, exacerbating the already challenging conditions.

Expected Snowfall:

  • Vail: 12-18 inches
  • Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Silverton, Winter Park: 8-12 inches
  • Meeker: 6-8 inches
  • Fairplay, Glenwood Springs: 4-6 inches

Travelers are advised to reconsider their plans, with authorities suggesting a delay in travel to avoid the worst of the storm.

Avalanche Watch In Effect

Compounding the situation, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an Avalanche Watch for the Elk Mountains and the Northern and Central Sawatch Range. The combination of heavy snowfall and vigorous winds is likely to create perilous avalanche conditions.

Avalanches are expected to be both wide and long, with many potentially occurring naturally. As such, venturing into or near avalanche-prone terrain is strongly discouraged on Sunday.

Avalanche Forecast
Avalanche forecast for Sunday, March 3, 2024.

Forecast Maps

These maps show the expected snowfall, wind speeds during the coming winter storm, and avalanche forecast information from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Use them to help plan your travel plans this weekend and get ready for potential disruptions.

Snowfall Forecast for March 2 through March 4.
Wind Forecast March 2-4 (Max Windspeed)

Winter Storm Safety Tips

For those in the affected areas, here are some safety tips to navigate the storm safely:

  1. Avoid Travel: If possible, postpone any travel plans until conditions improve.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest weather updates and advisories from the National Weather Service and local authorities.
  3. Emergency Kit: Ensure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including blankets, water, food, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit.
  4. Drive Safely: If you must travel, drive slowly, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, and use chains or snow tires when required.
  5. Avalanche Awareness: Steer clear of backcountry and avalanche-prone areas, especially during the height of the storm.
  6. Check on Neighbors: Particularly the elderly and those who may need extra assistance during the storm.

This weekend’s storm serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of Colorado’s winter weather. By preparing in advance and heeding safety advice, residents and visitors can navigate the challenges posed by this significant weather event.

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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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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