Rain and snow increase tonight through Wednesday

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 7:01 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Rain and mountain snow will begin increasing tonight as a Pacific storm system approaches from the west.

Weather Alerts - Where the Biggest Snow Falls

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 6 PM Thursday for the Uncompahgre Plateau, the Grand Mesa, Battlement Mesa, the West Elk Mountains, the Sawatch Mountains, and the southern San Juan Mountains. Snow accumulation of 10-20 inches, with locally more than two feet of snow, is expected in the warning area. Wind gusts up to 40-45 mph will blow the snow, reducing the visibility. Travel through the warning can area can be dangerous, and high passes can become impassable. This includes Powderhorn, Glade Park, Collbran, Cedaredge, Marble, Crested Butte, Pitkin, Ridgeway, Silverton, Wolf Creek Pass, and Steamboat Springs.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 6 PM Thursday in the central mountains. This includes the northern San Juan Mountains, the Roan Plateau, the Bookcliffs, the Elk Mountains, the Gore Mountains, the central mountain valleys, and the northern Front Range. Snow accumulation of 6-12 inches, with locally up to 20 inches of snow, is expected in the advisory area. Wind gusts up to 45 mph will blow the snow, reducing the visibility. Travel through the advisory can be difficult to occasionally dangerous. This includes Telluride, Ouray, Lake City, Aspen, Snowmass Village, Leadville, Vail, and Red Cliff.

Timing for the Western Slope

Spotty areas of rain and mountain snow will begin increasing this evening after about 7 PM, but precipitation this evening will be scarce. The increase of rain and snow will be slow overnight through Wednesday morning, but rain and mountain snow will increase more quickly after midday Wednesday. That sets us up for a messy evening drive. Rain in the valleys and snow in the mountains will fall overnight. Rain in the valleys could mix with snow around Grand Junction and Delta after about 2-3 AM Thursday before ending around or just after 6 AM. Rain around Montrose and Olathe will change over to snow, and then it will end between about 10 AM and noon. Snow over the mountains can linger through Thursday night.

Rain & Snow Expectations

Rainfall amounts of a quarter inch to a half inch mean good moisture in the valleys from Grand Junction to Montrose. Some local variation is possible. Snow accumulation is possible on the Montrose end of Highway 50, but that accumulation will be limited down low to 2-4 inches at most. Up to an inch may fall from Grand Junction to Delta, but that will more likely melt than accumulate. Bigger accumulation is expected on the higher terrain. Expect 5-10 inches of accumulation on the Uncompahgre Plateau, 9-12 inches on the Grand Mes and around the Elk Mountains and northern San Juans.

Our Next 24 Hours

This evening will become cloudy. Sunset is at 7:20 PM. We’ll cool from mid-to-upper 50s at 6 PM to upper 40s by 10 PM. Spotty showers will increase and become widespread rain and mountain snow after midnight. Low temperatures by morning will be near 41 degrees around Grand Junction, 39 degrees around Montrose, 41 degrees around Delta, and 36 degrees around Cortez. On Wednesday, periods of rain with mountain snow are likely. There will be some dry breaks. High temperatures will be near 49 degrees around Grand Junction, 48 degrees around Montrose, 50 degrees around Delta, and 47 degrees around Cortez.