‘Series of disturbances’ expected to bring snow to Colorado mountains, mess with holiday week travel

Staff reports

Weather officials are warning of difficult travel this week because of a “series of disturbances” that will start Monday and continue into Friday for western Colorado and mountain communities.

In a “special weather statement” from the National Weather Service posted late Saturday, forecasters said storms are expected to start early in the holiday week and roll through Thanksgiving Day. Officials have not put inches counts for snow totals because “there are still considerable differences in models that need to be ironed out,” according to the NWS statement.

“Regardless, conditions will not be favorable for the busy holiday travel period leading up to, during and after Thanksgiving, especially in the mountains,” the NWS said.

An winter weather advisory posted Sunday afternoon says the first storm will roll into Colorado Monday afternoon and spread south of Interstate 70 by Monday night, including the Aspen and Snowmass Village areas.

“Snow moderate to heavy at times developing by Monday evening. Total snow accumulations of 9 to 14 inches (and) winds gusting as high as 35 mph at times over 9,500 feet,” said the advisory, which runs from 5 p.m. Monday to 5 p.m. Tuesday. “Near whiteout conditions are possible at times with some blowing and drifting of snow likely.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation is also discouraging travel at the start of the week. The northern Front Range is under a winter storm warning.

“Travelers should be aware that quick, steady accumulations of snow along with blowing snow, will likely cause highway safety closures. CDOT recommends delaying holiday travel throughout the state until Wednesday,” the state agency said Sunday evening in a news release.

After a break from the snow late Tuesday and Wednesday but continued cold temperatures, a slow-moving storm is expected to bring more snow to the region Wednesday night through Thanksgiving Day and into Friday.

The strong Pacific storm could bring widespread snowfall, with a rain and snow mix possible in the lowest valleys.

“Snowfall totals will likely be significant, particularly for the southern mountains,” the NWS said.

The highs in Aspen Monday through Wednesday are not expected to get above freezing, and Tuesday the high is expected to be 13 degrees with an overnight low in the single digits.

While the snow will be trouble for travelers, skiers around Aspen will be looking for more terrain to open at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass resort, both of which opened Saturday.