Tuesday snowstorm to bring record-cold temperatures and slick road conditions
FRISCO — Winter is coming early this year.
In a classic Colorado case of swift weather changes, the High Country will go from a red flag warning to a winter storm warning in about four hours, according to the National Weather Service.
The red flag warning went into effect for Summit County and other areas across the Western Slope on Sunday, Sept. 6, and lasts through 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. The National Weather Service cited wind and low relative humidity for the fire weather warning. The winter storm warning takes effect at midnight Monday and lasts through noon Wednesday, Sept. 9.
National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Direnzo said much of the snow will be concentrated to the east of Summit County, with some areas to the east of the Continental Divide expecting up to 2 feet. Locally, accumulation in the 2-6 inch range is forecast with about 4 inches expected in Breckenridge. Higher peaks on the eastern side of the county are forecast to see 10-12 inches of snow, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Russell Danielson.
Across Colorado, Direnzo said temperatures are expected to drop rapidly, falling as much as 70 degrees in 12 hours, which would be a record in Denver.
Closer to home, the high temperature for Tuesday, Sept. 8, is forecast to be 32 degrees in Dillon, well below the record lowest maximum temperature for the date of 49 degrees set in 2003. The record lowest maximum temperature for any date in September is 30 degrees, which was recorded Sept. 30, 1959.
Tuesday night temperatures are forecast to be as low as 18 degrees. The record low temperature for Sept. 8 is a close 17 degrees, which was recorded in 1948. The Dillon weather station sits near Dillon Reservoir and was established in 1910.
Temperatures are expected to warm after Tuesday, with a forecast high of 49 degrees Wednesday, 54 degrees Thursday, 58 degrees Friday and 65 degrees Saturday.
- Record highest: 80 in 2013
- Record lowest: 49 in 2003
- Record highest: 42 in 1939
- Record lowest: 17 in 1948
- Record highest rainfall: 0.87 inches in 1941
- Record highest snowfall: 4 inches in 2001
Source: National Weather Service almanac
“It’s a pretty wild ride that we’re going on in the next couple of days,” Direnzo said.
The rain and snow will provide relief to residents who are tired of hazy skies. Whether the precipitation brings down fire danger depends on how much snow falls, Direnzo said.
Major fires across the state include the Pine Gulch, Cameron Peak, Williams Fork and Grizzly Creek fires. There are no known fires burning in Summit County, and Summit Fire & EMS had fire danger listed as “very high” on Monday.
“The cold temperatures will help either way,” Direnzo said. “But there’s going to be a large wind shift, stronger winds come in and blowing in a different direction just ahead of the cold air, so that’s going to push the fire into new fuels. It really just depends on how much snow actually falls on the fires. It could suppress them a little bit. It could suppress them a lot. If there’s enough of it, it could put them out entirely, but that’s fairly unlikely.”
Elise Thatcher, communications manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation, reminded drivers to watch weather and road conditions closely at CoTrip.org and be prepared for slick roads.
“We’re prepared for slick roads as well as if there is some accumulation,” Thatcher said.
She added that anyone driving west from Summit County should be prepared for Interstate 70 to close in Glenwood Springs Canyon, where precipitation could cause debris flow in the Grizzly Creek burn scar.
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