Heavy snow around Aspen expected to pick up Thursday afternoon
Forecasters looking for ‘feet’ of snow in Colorado high country by weekend
With a few inches overnight at Aspen and Snowmass, weather forecasters say the heavy snow is expected to pick up through Thursday and into Friday morning.
The winter storm warning for the area is scheduled to continue into Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service said in a Thursday morning update. The warning was issued Wednesday and snow in the mountains is still expected to reach 1 to 2 feet by the weekend. Up to 16 inches of new snow is expected in the mountains, and 4 to 8 inches in lower elevations.
“Snow will become widespread over the mountains becoming heavy at times this afternoon and overnight as an anomalously wet system moves through the region. Expect a mix of rain and snow in the higher valleys and mountain bases this afternoon before turning to all snow overnight,” according to the NWS outlook.
Winds gusts could hit 40 mph and create areas of blowing snow resulting in reduced visibility, mainly in the high country.
According to Aspen Skiing Co. reported totals, Aspen Mountain picked up 4 inches overnight Wednesday, while Snowmass picked up 3 inches. Aspen Highlands, which is scheduled to open Saturday, picked up 7 inches overnight.
The National Weather Service outlook for Friday includes more snow into the afternoon and then temperatures will drop sharply.
“Snow will linger through Friday bringing total snowfall accumulations ranging from 1 to 2 feet across the mountains and possibly as much as 3 feet over some of the higher peaks and favored west facing slopes,” according to the NWS. “Markedly colder temperatures arrive Friday with wind chills potentially approaching minus-20 degrees over the northern passes Friday morning.”
For those who are traveling, flight information for the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport can be found at aspenairport.com and with the airlines. For road conditions, check the Colorado Department of Transportation’s cotrip.org website.
Those looking to get into the backcountry after the new snow should check with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center on conditions. In an update Thursday morning, CAIC said deteriorating avalanche conditions are expected through the day in the Aspen area. Avalanche danger is forecast in the “high” (level 4 of 5) range for the weekend.
“Heavy snowfall and strong winds will easily overload our weak, pre-existing snowpack. … Plan accordingly and be prepared for worsening conditions factoring in a low-angle escape route with no overhead hazard into your trip plan,” according to the updated forecast. “A natural avalanche cycle is expected tonight with high precipitation rates.”
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Brett Tenza is very much a “people person,” and a people pleaser, too. As DJ Tenza, he spins music just about every week in the winter in Snowmass Base Village, and is always looking for “common ground” and ways to connect with disco-dancing ice skaters who hit the rink on Saturdays to his tunes.