Avalanche watch, winter storm warning in effect through 11 a.m. Wednesday | AspenTimes.com

Avalanche watch, winter storm warning in effect through 11 a.m. Wednesday

Staff report

After 3 inches of new snow in 24 hours Monday morning at Ajax, clouds cleared out and opened up to blue sky, the calm before a winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall to the region through Wednesday.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche watch Monday for nine of its 10 forecast regions as a strong winter storm heads into the region.

"A powerful winter storm will bring widespread snowfall and strong westerly winds to Colorado beginning Monday night. If the forecast verifies, the wind and snow will push the avalanche danger to HIGH (Level 4) by Tuesday afternoon. Large and dangerous natural and human-triggered avalanches will be likely in all steep terrain until at least Wednesday," the Avalanche Center warns.

The only region not part of the Avalanche Watch is the Sangre de Cristo zone.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning effective through 11 a.m. Wednesday. Snow accumulation around the Aspen-Snowmass area could reach 20 inches, with potentially higher amounts, according to the forecast.

"Significant mountain snow accumulations combined with strong winds over the passes will occur with a major impact on travel," according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. "Adverse conditions may exist over the mountain passes with heavy snowfall and gusty winds creating periodic whiteout conditions. Snow accumulations will range from 1 to 2 feet on west-facing aspects of the Western Colorado mountains."

Another storm moves into the region Thursday through Saturday that could produce more significant accumulations, the forecast said.

Recommended Stories For You

"People planning holiday travel should monitor the latest forecasts as there is some uncertainty when the winter storm arrives and how long it will persist," the forecast said. "Temperatures are expected to turn colder at the end of the week."