Powerful storm could drop 1 to 2 feet of snow at Summit County ski areas, snarl traffic
FRISCO — Summit County will see a powerful, prolonged snowstorm that is expected to bring 1-2 feet of accumulation through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
“We’re looking at light flurries starting late (Wednesday) afternoon and then that snow will start increasing in intensity overnight,” National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Kriederman said. “And then especially (Thursday) morning, it should come in pretty heavy.”
Kriederman said snow is not expected to stop until Saturday morning. She reported that the bulk of the heavy snow likely will be Thursday night into Friday morning.
OpenSnow meteorologist Sam Collentine wrote in his blog that snowfall rates could reach 2-3 inches per hour during heavier periods of the storm Thursday night into Friday. That’s thanks to three factors: a lot of moisture, winds out of the west-northwest and the position of the jet stream, he wrote.
Kriederman said wind also will be a factor and that there could be gusts as high as 60 mph. Coupled with cold temperatures, Kriederman said the county could see wind chill factors of 25-30 degrees below zero.
“That translates into frostbite that can occur to exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes,” Kriederman said.
The National Weather Service put out a hazardous weather outlook, avalanche watch and a winter storm warning, which is in effect from 5 a.m. Thursday until midnight Friday.
“It’s for both travelers, and it’s also for people who are outdoor enthusiasts to just be prepared for very heavy snowfall rates,” Kriederman said. “If anyone is traveling, whether by car or foot, this will be an impactful storm.”
Kriederman added that the impact of blowing and drifting snow over roadways could impact traffic and cause snow loading, which can become an avalanche danger.
The Colorado Avalanche Information center forecast considerable avalanche danger Thursday for Vail and Summit County.
“It’s just going to be around for quite a while,” Kriederman said about the storm. “Be prepared. Travel with an emergency kit in your car if you are traveling.”
Kriederman recommended traveling with extra food, water, blankets and a charged cellphone.
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