Up to 6 inches of snow expected in Aspen and Snowmass Sunday night; winter storm warning changed to advisory
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for much of Colorado’s Western Slope, including the Roaring Fork Valley, early Sunday morning.
According to the NWS Grand Junction office advisory, total snow accumulation of 6 to 12 inches is expected for the Gore Range, Elk Mountains and surrounding central mountain valleys Sunday night and into Monday.
In the Aspen and Snowmass urban areas specifically, roughly 3 to 6 inches is expected, with potentially higher snowfall counts in Snowmass.
“Snow will develop throughout the Western Slope on Sunday as a storm system moves south,” the NWS Grand Junction hazardous weather outlook states. “Expect deteriorating road conditions especially on the mountain passes on Sunday afternoon and overnight.”
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The winter weather advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. on Monday as a strong cold front moves southward across western Colorado, with the strongest snowfall rates expected in the afternoon and into the evening, the NWS Grand Junction office released.
According to Chris Cuoco, senior meteorologist with the NWS Grand Junction office, a winter storm warning was originally issued for the incoming storm, but then changed early Sunday to an advisory as the projected snowfall and wind conditions changed overnight to be less severe than initially anticipated.
As of late Sunday morning, the incoming storm was right on track to do as forecasters predicted in the winter weather advisory, Cuoco said. Aspen-Snowmass locals should expect to see heavy snowfall after 6 p.m., with a few potential snow flurries before then.
Cuoco said the storm is not at all unusual for the Western Slope this time of year. However, he said the next winter storm, which is set to blow in on Tuesday and Wednesday, is expected to bring 5 to 8 inches of snow to the Aspen and Snowmass urban areas and unusually cold temperatures for late October.
“Other storms this year have moved in and out pretty quickly, but this will be real winter for the first time,” Cuoco said of the two back-to-back forecasted storms. “This week will be colder, there will be snow on the roads and passes, and the snow will stick around for a bit…treat it like the middle of winter. It’s not flip-flops and shorts weather anymore.”
Cuoco urged people traveling in the winter weather conditions to drive slowly and to pack extra warm clothing and food in their vehicles for if they get stranded.
For up-to-date weather information and forecasts, visit the NWS Grand Junction office website at https://www.weather.gov/gjt/. For those traveling by air, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport website updates arrival and departure times at aspenairport.com.
For road conditions, the Colorado Department of Transportation is the agency that decides if Highway 82 east of Aspen over Independence Pass closes at any point. The agency sends out information via its Twitter account @ColoradoDOT and online at cotrip.org.
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Wayne Hall took a job as an air traffic controller at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in 2003 thinking he would stay for a short time. Instead he stayed for nearly 17 years and was promoted up to the position of air traffic manager. He reflected on the experience upon retirement.