Travel difficulties, delays start as winter storm rolls into Aspen and Colorado mountains |

Travel difficulties, delays start as winter storm rolls into Aspen and Colorado mountains

Staff reports

Travel around Aspen and the Colorado mountains will be difficult and delays are expected as a winter storm rolls into the region, transportation and weather officials said Tuesday.

Rain turned to snow about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Aspen and Snowmass Village areas, and the storm is hitting hardest along the Continental Divide and the Front Range.

Flights into and out of the Aspen airport are being delay or canceled Tuesday as the storm intensifies. Flight updates can be found at the airport’s website:

Local law enforcement sent out an alert Tuesday evening warning those drivers doing the evening commute that they should be careful from Aspen to Basalt because traffic lights are covered in snow. “Please use caution at all intersections, especially when turning across oncoming traffic,” the alert warns.

Highway 82 east of Aspen over Independence Pass remains open as of late Tuesday afternoon, but the rockfall mitigation work scheduled to start Tuesday has been delayed, an official with the Colorado Department of Transportation said. That work, which will go into October, will begin Thursday, weather permitting.

A winter weather advisory for the Aspen and Pitkin County area is in effect until noon Wednesday and calls for high winds (40 mph gusts) and snow totals up to 6 inches in the Gore and Elk mountains and the central mountain valleys, according to the National Weather Service update Tuesday.

Other parts of the state are under winter weather warnings, including along the Interstate 70 mountain corridor and north to south in central Colorado.

Watches and warnings for western Colorado on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

“Travel could be very difficult, especially over higher mountain passes. Heavy early-season snow on top of fully leaved trees could result in tree damage and power outages from Tuesday through Wednesday,” according to the weather service.

After the storm moves in Tuesday, freeze watches and warnings have been issued to account for the cold temperatures expected Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning, according to the NWS.

The updated Aspen forecast calls for less than 2 inches in town by Wednesday evening and an overnight low of 25 degrees and a high of 52 degrees Wednesday.