Winter storm brings high winds and fresh snow to Summit County |

Winter storm brings high winds and fresh snow to Summit County

Welcome to winter in the High Country: falling snow, blowing wind, low visibility. Isn’t it grand?

Summit County has been waiting for winter weather to arrive, and a recent change in the weather pattern has ushered in a snowy mid-December. After tallying up to 11 inches last week, local ski areas will get a few more inches this week to freshen things up.

The Wednesday storm arrived on time at about 5 a.m., meaning most ski areas will report the accumulation on their Thursday snow reports. Copper Mountain Resort did report 1 inch of snow Wednesday, and Loveland Ski Area got 2 inches on the other side of the Continental Divide.

It remains to be seen whether any of this fresh snow will stick around with winds gusting to about 50 mph in the valley and 80 mph along the divide. In a Facebook post, the National Weather Service jokingly suggested that residents batten down the hatches or pick up their patio furniture in Kansas later this week.

That wind could spell trouble for avalanche danger. Danger in the Summit zone is currently rated at considerable (3 out of 5), but the report is likely to look different Thursday morning following fresh snow and wind loading.

“Avalanches will be easier to trigger by a person or snowmachine in areas where powerful winds have drifted snow lower on slopes,” the Colorado Avalanche Information Center report stated.

The Wednesday storm was initially expected to drop 2-6 inches at ski areas, and a lighter round of snow Thursday could bring another 1-3 inches, according to forecasting site

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