Up to 14 inches of snow expected at high elevations in Summit County
Summit County is finally set to get a decent dump of snow.
Over the course of the storm from Tuesday night through Wednesday night, 4-6 inches could cover the towns with higher elevations seeing up to 14 inches. But difficult-to-predict snow bands could bump up those totals, National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Kriederman said Tuesday.
Kriederman said the storm system would start with light snow moving into Summit County on Tuesday night accompanied by strong, gusty winds on the mountaintops.
“(Wednesday) afternoon, it does look like we have a setup for snow banding, so what that means is there will be some periods of heavy snow with reduced visibility, especially with those strong winds,” Kriederman said. “Travel in Summit County (Wednesday) afternoon is not recommended. It could get pretty dicey (Wednesday) afternoon into the early evening.”
Summit County could see up to an inch of snow accumulation by noon Wednesday. In the afternoon, 4-5 inches could accumulate. Kriederman said snow will continue into the evening and overnight, piling up another 3-6 inches. She said the snow should stop by Thursday morning, with the bulk of the snow falling Wednesday afternoon and night.
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As for total accumulations, lower elevations in town are expected to see 4-6 inches while 12-14 inches are predicted in the Gore Range area. Kriederman noted that the snow bands add a twist to accumulation predictions.
“These snow bands are quite difficult to predict, especially this far out, but under that band, we could see these higher amounts of closer to 9-12 inches,” Kriederman said.
The cold front is expected to bring the Wednesday high of 38 down into the single digits overnight, she said. Light flurries might continue Thursday and Friday, but Saturday and Sunday will be dry and cold.
Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist of Open Snow, wrote in his Copper Mountain Resort forecast that Thursday morning should offer powder skiing with 6-12 inches of new snow. He is also calling for more than flurries out of the next round of snow on Thursday and Friday.
“Multiple days of snow, like we’re going to see, is how we generate the best, deepest and most fun conditions,” Gratz wrote. “I expect 6-12-plus inches of snow from Thursday night through Saturday night, and conditions should be deeper and softer throughout this time with the best powder maybe on Saturday.”
The National Weather Service put out a winter weather advisory and a hazardous weather outlook for the Wednesday storm. The weather advisory is in effect from 6 a.m. Wednesday until 9 a.m. Thursday, stating that the combination of heavy snow along with a cold front and gusty winds will create “a period of poor visibility and difficult travel conditions.”
Road conditions are expected to slowly improve late Wednesday night into Thursday morning as snow and winds decrease, the advisory said, but travel should be avoided during this period.
During the storm, travelers are asked to make sure their tire tread is in line with state traction laws. All motorists traveling through the Interstate 70 mountain corridor are required to have one of the following:
- Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles and a tire tread depth of at least three-sixteenths of an inch
- Tires with a mud and snow designation or snow tires and a tread depth of at least three-sixteenths of an inch
- Chains or an AutoSock
The storm also is expected to increase avalanche danger in the area, which was rated as moderate on Tuesday, with a forecast of considerable for Wednesday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
• Forecast and recent weather stories: SummitDaily.com/news/weather
• Storm warnings and advisories: Weather.gov/wrh
• Summit County ski area forecasts: OpenSnow.com/region/summitcounty
• Road conditions, closures and traffic cameras: CoTrip.org
• Travel information by phone: 511 (in Colorado) or 303-639-1111
• Sign up for CDOT alerts: CoDOT.gov/topcontent/travel-alerts-system/for-general-public
• Avalanche danger and conditions: Avalanche.state.co.us
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