Winter storm warning extended into Monday for Aspen area, NWS says
The winter storm warning for the Colorado mountains and Aspen area has been extended into Monday morning, the National Weather Service said in an update Saturday afternoon.
The warning now lasts until 6 a.m. Monday as snow is expected to fall through Sunday night, and snow accumulations are predicted at 2 to 3 feet by Monday morning at higher elevations. The initial warning was set to expire at noon Sunday.
There will be periods of snow at 1 to 2 inches an hour and snow totals range from 18 to 28 inches locally with higher amounts up to 40 inches, according to the NWS update. The warning area includes the Elk, West Elk, Gore and Sawatch mountains and the central mountain valleys.
Snow started up in the Aspen and Snowmass areas Saturday afternoon and continued into the evening.
According to the weather service, a “milder westerly flow will bring seasonably warm conditions and increasing moisture to western Colorado and eastern Utah through Monday morning. Snowfall will continue over the higher elevations … with lulls from time to time.”
Along with the snow, the NWS said moderate to heavy rain and some snow will occur in the lower central and southern valleys. Snow will start decreasing from the north on Monday.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is discouraging backcountry travel, and the avalanche level is high (level 4 of 5).
“A strong Pacific storm brings heavy snowfall and strong westerly winds to Colorado. Large avalanches will be very easy to trigger by late Saturday,” according to the avalanche watch issued Saturday. “During periods of heavy snowfall, avalanches will release naturally, running from high elevations to valley floors.”
The Aspen airport has had numerous delays and cancellations since the storm started late Thursday night. Travelers should check for updates at aspenairport.com or their airlines.
The high in Aspen on Sunday is forecast at 36 degrees and 35 on Monday, according to the weather service. The highs in Glenwood are expected in the 40s.