Southwestern mountains to get even more snow |

Southwestern mountains to get even more snow

TELLURIDE Up to 20 inches of snow were forecast by Tuesday morning for the central and southwestern mountains, already saturated by snow and rain.Isolated spots could see 2 feet of snow before the storm ends, the National Weather Service said.A winter storm warning was in effect Monday for the southwest mountains, with the National Weather Service forecasting wind gusts of up to 45 mph that could blow snow across mountain roads and sharply reduce visibility.Although southwestern Colorado had been the region of the state hardest hit by the five-year drought, this year it leads the rest of the state in moisture.The snowpack for the basin made up by the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan rivers was 153 percent of the 30-year average as of Sunday.The rest of the state was only 111 percent, with three basins important to the populous Front Range all below 100 percent. As of Sunday, the Upper Colorado was 98 percent, Laramie and North Platte 90 percent, and South Platte 87 percent.A winter storm warning also was issued beginning at 2 a.m. Monday through noon Tuesday for the eastern San Juans and eastern Sawatch Mountains, where 10 to 20 inches of snow was possible.Several inches were likely in the northern mountains with up to 10 inches possible in the far north.Last month the statewide snowpack had hit 128 percent of the 30-year average. Although it has declined, it remains well ahead of last year on the same date.Climatologists have predicted a wetter-than-average spring, which would help the state continue to ease out of the drought.The forecast for the next couple of weeks calls for drier than average weather followed by normal conditions.

The stronger shortwave came across Colorado after midnight, and dropped 6 inches of snow in Silverton in little over two hours, while the passes to the south did not get quite as much. Instruments at Telluride show almost an inch. Once it starts snowing, we should see widespread light snow, with periods of intense local snowfall driven by atmospheric instability. Snowfall should spread into the central and souther mountains this morning and move into the northern mountains this afternoon. Between then and Tuesday evening. Snowfall will be greatest tonight. Temperatures drop tonight, and remain cooler through Wednesday. The main trough passes over Colorado mid-day Tuesday, and snowfall will taper off Tuesday afternoon. The most recent model run has slowed the storm down by three to six hours but is still brings in the same snowfall amounts.

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