Winter storm set to hit Aspen area Wednesday with heavy snow into Thursday night
Ringing in the new year with a series of snowstorms that could bring nearly a foot of snow is in the weather forecast for the Aspen area and Colorado mountains, according to updates Wednesday morning from the National Weather Service.
A winter weather advisory has been issued starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday and lasting until late Thursday night.
“Snow will develop over the northern plateau and northern mountains (Wednesday) morning, becoming heavy this afternoon while spreading into the central and southern mountains later in the day,” according to the weather service.
“Six to 12 inches of new snow is possible across the Elkhead, Park, Gore and Flat Tops by sunrise Thursday. 4 to 8 inches of snow are possible across the Grand Mesa, Elk and other central Colorado mountains during this time. … Significant travel impacts are likely as this winter storm moves through the area.”
The NWS office in Grand Junction is calling for a “series of cold and moist Pacific storms” moving across western Colorado starting New Year’s Day and lasting through late this week.
“This favorable weather pattern may bring locally heavy snowfall to the mountains and high valleys for an extended period of time with only short breaks in snowfall between storms,” according to a special weather statement. “This cold and unsettled pattern could persist into the weekend.”
Light snowfall is expected to start Wednesday morning in the Aspen and Snowmass area and heavier snowfall will start later in the day and into Thursday, the NWS predicts.
Those planning to travel in the mountains should be prepared for difficult conditions and delays. Travel could be very difficult, especially over mountain passes, the weather advisory states, and patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says avalanche danger for Wednesday is moderate (level 2 of 5).
“You are most likely to trigger the largest avalanches on slopes near and above treeline that face north through northeast to east,” according to the CAIC report. “The deepest wind-drifted slabs rest on the weakest snow here. Don’t be lulled into complacency on other slopes, though, the weak now structure exists on other aspects and elevations as well.”
After that, drier weather arrives late Friday and Saturday, before another round of snow moves in Sunday and Monday, the weather service said.
Keep up with the conditions:
• Forecast and recent weather stories: aspentimes.com/news/weather.
• Local storm warnings and advisories: noaa.gov
• Aspen Snowmass ski area forecasts: aspensnowmass.com
• Road conditions, closures and traffic cameras: cotrip.org.
• Travel information by phone: 511 (in Colorado) or 303-639-1111.
• Avalanche danger and conditions: avalanche.state.co.us.
• Aspen airport flight information: aspenairport.com
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