Snow returns Sunday to Aspen area; avalanche danger increases to ‘considerable’ |

Snow returns Sunday to Aspen area; avalanche danger increases to ‘considerable’

Staff report

As much as a foot of snow is forecast for the northern and central Colorado mountains including areas around Aspen and Snowmass, the National Weather Service said in a winter weather advisory update Saturday night.

The NWS office in Grand Junction said snow totals could range from 6 inches to a foot or more in some higher elevations.

The advisory starts early Sunday morning and lasts until midnight Sunday.

“Clouds will be on the increase today ahead of the next storm system. Snow will begin around midnight tonight for all mountainous terrain with 6 to 12 inches expected when all is said and done,” the NWS said in its advisory posted early Saturday morning. “The southern valleys and (Interstate-70) corridor from Debeque Canyon to Vail Pass will see 3 to 6 inches.”

Snow totals in the Aspen area are expected to be in the 2 to 4 inch range. The high in Aspen for Sunday is 33 degrees, according to the weather service.

On Sunday morning, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center increased the rate for Sunday and Monday to “considerable” (level 3 of 5).

“Dangerous avalanche conditions exist today and you can trigger an avalanche that is easily large enough to bury, injure and possibly kill you. An ongoing storm will drop up 9 inches of snow today, favoring the west side of the zone, and you can easily trigger avalanches in the accumulating storm snow,” Sunday morning’s update said. “Slabs will be thicker, stiffer, and more dangerous on north and east-facing slopes due to loading from strong southwest winds.  Any avalanche in the storm snow can step into the deeper weak layers resulting in large and destructive slides. The most dangerous slopes will be on north and east facing slopes that are near and above treeline or in open, wind-exposed terrain.”

VIDEO: Ice floes roll through Basalt on Friday afternoon

As well, a flood advisory remains in effect for the lower parts of the Roaring Fork River as well as the Frying Pan River after ice floes rolled through Basalt on Friday afternoon.

After an ice jam broke Friday, there were two floes with large ice chucks and large tree trunks and branches that went through Basalt on Friday.