Winter storm warning through Wednesday around Aspen above 8,500 feet; avalanche danger up |

Winter storm warning through Wednesday around Aspen above 8,500 feet; avalanche danger up

Staff report

Areas around Aspen and Snowmass above 8,500 feet could see up to 20 inches of snow by Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning is in effect for most of the northern and central Colorado mountains from 6 a.m. Monday until noon Wednesday, the NWS’s Grand Junction said Sunday evening.

“Heavy snow (is) expected above 8,500 feet. Total snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches expected,” the Sunday night update said. “Snow levels dropping to 8,500 feet by Monday evening. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph.”

In addition to the Elk Mountains around Aspen, the warning includes the Elkhead and Park mountains, Grand and Battlement mesas, and Gore, West Elk and Sawatch mountains and Flat Tops.

Travel could be “very difficult to impossible over the higher mountain passes. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning and evening commutes,” according to the warning.

The forecast calls for stronger and numerous showers and thunderstorms through Tuesday night. Heavy rain, hail and strong gusty winds are expected over most of the area, according to the NWS. Storms will decrease by Wednesday afternoon.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has increased its avalanche danger to considerable (level 3 of 5) starting Tuesday in the Aspen zone.

“Expect the avalanche danger to increase and the avalanche problems to shift back to storm and wind-drifted snow problems over the next few days,” the CAIC said Monday.

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