The second winter storm of the week arrives tomorrow morning
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - There are active alerts across the Western Slope with a Winter Storm Warning going into effect starting at midnight Friday for the Elkhead and Park Mountains, Grand and Battlement Mesas, Gore and Elk Mountains/Central Mountain Valleys, and West Elk and Sawatch Mountains. It will also include the cities of Columbine, Hahns Peak, Toponas, Aspen, Vail, Snowmass, Crested Butte, Taylor Park, Marble, Buford, and Trappers Lake.
Winter Weather Advisory will go into effect at 6 am tomorrow for Telluride, Ouray, Lake City, Silverton, Rico, and Hesperus.
Wind Advisory is already in effect for Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade,
De Beque, New Castle, Mesa, Parachute, Rifle, Silt, Montrose, Hotchkiss, Delta, Gunnison, and Cimarron. The alert will expire at 3 pm tomorrow.
Today feels like the calm before the storm. Across most of the Western Slope, we saw sunshine to begin our day, and then cloud cover took over during the afternoon hours and towards the evening hours and continued throughout the nighttime and overnight hours. Temperatures tonight will fall into the thirty-degree range for locations across the Western Slope. By tomorrow, our second winter storm of the week will impact the high country and elevations.
The biggest concern is the arrival time, as this winter storm will move towards the morning hours for Friday’s morning commute. If your morning commute includes driving on I-70 near Vail, US 550 through the San Juans, and US-50 heading towards Gunnison and Monarch Pass, these areas will be most affected. Other locations can include the Grand Mesa and backroads in the high country. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will most likely implement the traction law. Ensure your vehicle meets one of the requirements below before hitting the road tomorrow morning.
Snowfall accumulations will differ based on each location, but areas in Winter Storm Warnings, which are in the high country, can receive around 5-8 inches of snow. Isolated higher amounts can occur in different locations. Areas in the Winter Weather Advisory can acquire about 3-5 inches of snowfall.
Alongside the snow, winds are going to be the second story. With the strong cold front that will pass over the state before it arrives, winds can gust up to 60 miles per hour (mph) in some locations. There is a chance that wind gusts can exceed these speeds. It can create blowing snow and low visibility during the morning commute. The front will push through the state towards the evening hours, and winds will subside along with snowfall dissipating.
Temperatures will also get affected by the cold front as many locations will fall tomorrow and lead to the weekend’s start. However, they will rebound as we get into Sunday and then track another rain and snowmaker on Monday. Models suggest this will not be a winter storm but more pockets of isolated snowfall. However, this next snowmaker can become strong enough to become a winter storm in the coming days.
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