Aspen, Elk Mountains face winter storm warning; Indy Pass closes for season | AspenTimes.com

Aspen, Elk Mountains face winter storm warning; Indy Pass closes for season

Staff reports

Another early-October snow blanketed Aspen on Monday morning, Oct. 2, 2017, making for a colorful mix with the autumn leaves.

A strong winter storm approaching Colorado could drop more than a foot of snow in the central mountain areas, including the Elk Mountains and Aspen area.

The National Weather Service early Thursday morning upgraded its forecast and issued a winter storm warning for much of the central mountains starting at 11 p.m. Thursday and lasting into early Saturday. The warning area includes Aspen and the Elk Mountains. Late Wednesday night the weather service issued a winter storm watch.

The warning calls for "8 to 14 inches, with localized amounts up to 18 inches," above 8,000 feet by Saturday morning and wind gusts up 45 to 55 mph.

After a low in the upper 30s overnight Thursday, the Aspen forecast calls for rain and possible thunderstorms Friday during the day then "becoming all snow after 7 p.m.," according to the weather service. The low is forecast for 19 degrees into Saturday with northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

According to the NWS office in Grand Junction, a cold front from the northwest "will bring snowfall to all mountainous terrain" starting late Thursday night. Snowfall totals will "generally be in the 6 to 12 inch range for the mountains. Valley rain for the northern and central valleys will be common."

This should be good news for skiers with Aspen Mountain and Snowmass planned to open next week on Thanksgiving. Snowmaking operations started last week but have been on and off with the warmer weather.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said Thursday it is closing Independence Pass for the season on Thursday evening. Last week, CDOT said the pass would stay open until the "next weather event."