Forecasts call for 30 inches of snow in some mountain areas; Colorado governor warns of travel problems | AspenTimes.com

Forecasts call for 30 inches of snow in some mountain areas; Colorado governor warns of travel problems

Staff report
The National Weather Service issued an updated map Thursday for winter storm warnings (pink) and watches (purple) for Colorado. Winter weather advisory (blue) is also in effect for areas on the Western Slope and Front Range.

Coming off a couple of days of bitter cold, the Aspen area is getting hit with a major snowstorm Thursday and it is expected to last into Saturday morning, according to an update sent Thursday by the National Weather Service. Even the Colorado governor is warning people of mountain travel issues through the weekend.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said Thursday. The warning covers most of the northern and central Colorado mountains and includes Aspen, Snowmass and Marble.

Heavy snow is expected throughout this period, with “total snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches with locally higher amounts up to 30 inches,” the NWS warning forecasts said Thursday in an update.

As well, winds gusting as fast as 40 mph will make travel “very difficult to impossible at times, especially on the mountain passes.”

Those venturing out of the valley and to the east should expect delays on Interstate 70 and be prepared for potential closures of Vail Pass into the weekend. It was closed on and off through the day Thursday, and is scheduled to be closed at 7 a.m. Friday for avalanche mitigation.

Blowing snow will reduce visibility, and wind chills as low as minus-20 degrees are forecast. Officials are advising travelers to keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis weighed in on Thursday, warning people of the difficult travel through the weekend.

For those going through the Aspen airport, fliers should check with their airlines or go to aspenairport.com for updates. Numerous flights have been canceled in and out of the airport for Thursday.

Anyone considering venturing into the backcountry through the weekend should check the conditions through the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The Aspen region forecast for Thursday moves to considerable (level 3 of 5) near and above treeline. For Friday and the weekend, the state agency has the avalanche danger at high (level 4 of 5) as of Thursday afternoon.



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