Aspen to get first big snow, says weather service |

Aspen to get first big snow, says weather service

Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesThere was plenty of grass beneath Lift 1A on lower Aspen Mountain Thursday. A winter storm is expected to deliver a foot of snow or more, starting Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.

ASPEN – A winter storm warning is in effect for the mountains surrounding Aspen and Snowmass, where heavy snow is expected starting Thursday night. Finally.

The storm could be the kickoff to winter in Aspen, where the ski season is scheduled to begin in exactly two weeks with the Nov. 26 opening of Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. Women’s World Cup racing is scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend, though grass was still poking up on the Aspen Mountain race course Thursday.

An October snowstorm that dumped on parts of Colorado, mainly on the Front Range, did little in Aspen. In fact, every prediction for snowfall so far this fall has been largely a bust. The city’s October snowfall totaled a below-average 5.88 inches, according to the records maintained at the city’s water department. The average for the month is about 9 inches, but in 2008, Aspen’s October snowfall totaled 1.02 inches, according to the water department’s records.

Now, though, the National Weather Service has posted storm warnings and advisories for much of western Colorado. The warning for the Elk Mountains surrounding Aspen will be in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Snowfall is expected to begin in earnest over the northern mountains of the state Thursday night, spreading across the central and southern mountains into Friday morning. Snow may be heavy at times, with some blowing and drifting possible, according to the weather service.

Accumulations of a foot or more are likely by early Saturday, the agency warned.

The forecast for the city of Aspen calls for 4 to 8 inches of snow Thursday night, with lows of 25 to 35. Another 5 to 10 inches are predicted Friday, with highs in the 30s and west winds of 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.

Friday night’s forecast calls for a chance of snow, with accumulations of around an inch and lows of 15 to 25. Another 1 to 3 inches is likely on Saturday, with highs of 25 to 35, according to the weather service. There is a 60 percent chance of more snow Saturday night and a 50 percent change for snow on Sunday.

The Weather Channel, on the other hand, was calling for an inch of snow in Aspen Thursday night, and 3 to 5 inches on Friday.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected Monday, with a 20 percent chance of snow and highs in the 30s, the weather service said.

In the lower valley, including Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, rain is likely Thursday night, with lows in the 30s, according to the weather service. Snow is predicted Friday morning, with rain and snow in the afternoon and highs in the 40s. Accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible.

Friday night brings a 30 percent chance for snow in the lower valley, with lows in the 20s. The weather service is predicting a chance for snow Saturday morning; snow is likely in the afternoon with about an inch of accumulation. Highs of 35 to 45 are expected.

Mostly cloudy skies and a 40 percent chance of snow are expected Sunday, with highs of 35 to 45 in the lower valley.

The Aspen Water Department, which records daily temperature and precipitation, measured 5.88 inches of snow in town last month, below the average of 9.01 inches for the month, but more than last year’s October total of just 1.02 inches.

The department recorded four days of snowfall in October and one day of rain and snow.

Overall, temperatures were temperate – with an average high of about 53.1 degrees and an average low of 26.4.

The high temperature for the month, recorded Oct. 18, was 68 degrees. The low was recorded Oct. 30 when the temperature dropped to 7 above. Overnight lows did not drop below freezing on nine days in October.

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