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Summit County will see mud season extend into another week, with snow and rain expected into next week

It’s the mud season that never ends. After plentiful snow this winter, above-average precipitation continues to fall in the High Country in the form of mixed sleet, snow and rain. Those of us waiting for sustained sunniness will, unfortunately, have to wait another week.

Saturday saw snow showers intermittently throughout the day, dampening the mountain mood but not the spirits of volunteers who showed up to clean up their neighborhoods during the county’s annual cleanup day. Visibility on highways Sunday night should be clear but it will be cold, with temperatures forecast to bottom out at 25 degrees.

Sunday is expected to be a bit drier, but still mostly cloudy and chilly with a high of 49 degrees. Thunderstorms are possible. There is an even chance of snow showers through the day and evening, with little to no snow accumulation likely. Sunday night will also see lows below freezing.

Monday will be a slog. The day is likely to have sustained periods of snow and sleet through the afternoon and evening, with highway travel possibly becoming hazardous. Strong winds are also expected.

As with any weather forecast in Colorado, beyond the next few days things are much more uncertain. The National Weather Service predicts a chance of snow showers Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week, with a glimmer of hope that at least a day or two should be sunny and clear.

The above-average precipitation is in line with the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast of above-average precipitation for the region for the next month. The precipitation has obliterated drought in Colorado, with no drought conditions left in the state and only 10% of the state experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions.

As much as the lingering muck is ruining camping and hiking plans up in the mountains, it is a far cry from the danger other Americans are facing. Up to 80 million people from the Great Lakes to Texas are currently under severe weather warnings as summer approaches.

It is peak tornado season in tornado alley, with several homes destroyed by a twister southwest of Oklahoma City on Saturday morning. Widespread damage was also reported in Abilene, Texas, after a tornado touched down in the middle of a residential neighborhood there.

While the sustained precipitation across the country has been a blessing for the drought-stricken region, it has also created massive amounts of flooding throughout the Great Plains. Iowa is expected to experience flooding again, mere weeks after historic flooding breached flood barriers, submerged entire farms and left people stranded for days or even weeks.

So while the moisture in Summit hasn’t been enjoyable, it is certainly better than another dry alternative, or the kind of extreme weather our neighbors are facing. The conditions have allowed Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to stay open an extra weekend, to June 9, with additional weekends possible if conditions continue to be favorable. Breckenridge is still slated to close on May 27, accumulating 440 inches through the winter — the third best winter in the resort’s history.

For another week, at least, skis are a safer bet for use than golf clubs.

Winter storm warning for Summit County, up to 16 inches expected

A winter storm warning has been issued for Summit County and surrounding areas beginning at noon today through 6 p.m. Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service, snow showers are expected to increase in the mountains this afternoon and continue through through Thursday.

Significant snow accumulations of between 8 to 16 inches are expected by Friday morning, with travel becoming more difficult overnight and into Thursday. The high today is 45 degrees with an overnight low of 22 degrees.

Amazing drone footage of enormous Peak 1 avalanche near Frisco

Local photographer Tripp Fay captured this amazing drone footage of the avalanche off Peak One on Thursday. The massive avalanche near the J Chute — just off of Rainbow Lake — tore through the landscape, stripping trees and leaving a gigantic white scar on the side of the peak.

Here's a closer look at the new avi chute on Peak One in Frisco!

Posted by Tripp Fay on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Substantial snowfall this week has led to historic avalanche conditions in the area.

Here’s a before and after view of the area from Sarah Porter Graham.

It’s not over yet: Another winter storm to bring 6 to 12 more inches to Summit County

A heavy winter storm overnight Wednesday and into Thursday caused Summit County to practically shut down. While the area saw a little relief by the end of the day and overnight as roads began to reopen, it’s not over yet. Another winter storm is on its way and should be moving into the county by this afternoon.

Summit County is again under a winter weather warning. According to the National Weather Service, another Pacific storm system will be moving over Colorado later today, bringing another round of snowfall to the northern and central mountains of Colorado. Snow is expected to begin falling by early afternoon and then continue overnight. It will also be possible that a few embedded thunderstorms may develop. Snowfall is expected to become moderate to heavy at times, with heavy snow most likely to hit Summit County this evening. Additional snowfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches are expected from this storm.

Gusty winds are expected to develop during the evening and overnight with gusts of 60 to 70 mph over the higher elevations. the increasing winds will cause poor visibility due to blowing and drifting snowfall.

Weather conditions will be best this morning, but will deteriorate later this afternoon and evening as snow begins to fall. Traveling into the mountains of central Colorado tonight should only be done if absolutely necessary, the National Weather Service alert warns.

This storm is the latest in a series of storms that has produced between 3 and 5 feet of new snow over the past week. Substantial snowfall led to historic avalanche conditions in Summit County, bringing extreme avalanche danger through much of the central mountains.

Numerous large avalanches have been occurring through the week, causing road closures at times. An avalanche hit Vail Pass at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, dumping 6 feet of snow onto the roadway. At around 5 a.m. another avalanche between the water-treatment plant and Conoco gas-station complex near Copper Mountain ruptured a natural-gas line, closing off access to the area. At around 4 p.m., another giant avalanche hit CO 91 at mile marker 21, near Copper Mountain, spreading 15-foot-deep snow across 300 feet of roadway and trapping multiple cars

Tonight’s additional snowfall will keep avalanche danger in the high to extreme category through Saturday. Additional avalanches are expected over the next several days. The winter storm warning remains in effect from 2 p.m. this afternoon to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Snowstorm leads to dangerous avalanche conditions across Colorado high country

State avalanche control officials are warning people of extreme avalanche danger and urging them to stay away from backcountry slopes following a storm that dropped between 2 to 3 feet of snow.

“Backcountry avalanche conditions are very dangerous due to large amounts of snowfall and westerly winds,” according to a 7:03 a.m. tweet by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The CAIC issued a warning Monday against traveling in or below avalanche terrain.

“Triggering avalanches in wind-drifted snow is likely today. New snow makes older weak layers easy to trigger. Carefully evaluate terrain and snowpack before you travel on or below slopes steeper than 30 degrees,” the CAIC warns.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website, click here.

Vail firefighter suffers serious injuries trying to help during early morning crashes on I-70

EAGLE-VAIL —A Vail firefighter suffered serious injuries when he was struck after he climbed out of his car to lend a hand during Friday morning’s traffic accident along eastbound I-70.

The Vail firefighter’s name was not released until family had been notified, Vail Fire Chief Mark Novak said.

“He’s stable, but has been admitted to the hospital,” Novak said.

The firefighter was on his way to work when he came upon the accidents, Novak said. It appears he stopped to help when he was struck by another vehicle.

He suffered facial and head injuries, Novak said.

Two separate Friday morning accidents involved multiple vehicles as roads turned icy and snowpacked, said Trooper Tim Schaefer, public information officer with the Colorado State Patrol.

“We’re asking people to be cautious,” Schaefer said.

The first call came in at 6:42 a.m. from the local dispatchers. Eastbound I-70 was closed and traffic was diverted around the accidents, Schaefer said.

The CSP did not know how long the road would be closed. Vail Pass is also closed going eastbound on I-70 with no estimated time of reopening.

This story will be updated.

Winter storm could bring more than 2 feet of snow to Summit County by Sunday

The National Weather Service in Boulder is forecasting a major winter storm that will blanket areas of Colorado with multiple feet of snow by Sunday.

A winter storm warning is currently in effect for Summit County, forecasting possible snow accumulations between 15 to 30 inches with isolated amounts up to 40 inches by late Saturday night. Winds gusting up to 45 mph at times will produce areas of blowing snow and poor visibilities.

The high today is 37 degrees with an overnight low of 23 degrees.

The latest road conditions for Colorado can be obtained by calling 511 or visiting http://www.cotrip.org.

OpenSnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz said for the best powder on the ski slopes, “snow conditions will get deeper and softer with time, so Saturday should be soft and maybe deep by midday or afternoon, and Sunday morning should be the softest and deepest. Powder is possible on Monday as well though I have low confidence.”

Eastbound I-70 near Vail reopens after safety closure, traction laws in effect

UPDATE 12:40 p.m.: The Colorado Department of Transportation has reopened CO 9 at Hoosier Pass. All lanes are open, though CDOT is warning drivers to go slowly with crews still in the area.

UPDATE 11:48 a.m.: The Colorado Department of Transportation announced that CO 9 southbound near Hoosier Pass, between Breckenridge and Alma, is currently closed due to a crash.

UPDATE 11:07 a.m.: The Colorado Department of Transportation announced I-70 eastbound is now open at Exit 176 near Vail following a safety closure earlier this morning.

Commercial vehicle chain laws are currently in effect on CO 91 from Copper Mountain to Leadville, on CO 9 from Breckenridge to Alma and on CO 6 at Loveland Pass. Passenger vehicle traction laws are in effect on I-70 from Silverthorne to Bakerville, and from Copper Mountain to Vail.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.: The Colorado Department of Transportation announced I-70 EB is now open at Exit 168 Post Blvd near Avon. Minor delays remain in area.

However, at 8:42 a.m., CDOT announced I-70 Eastbound Vail is closed at milemarker 176 due to safety concerns on Vail Pass. No estimated time to open.

Originally story:

Eastbound Interstate 70 is closed at Avon due to a major crash involving multiple injuries.

The Colorado State Patrol in Eagle advised at 6:29 a.m. this morning that I-70 was closed at the Avon exit due to a serious crash in Dowd Junction with multiple injuries. I-70 remains closed at this time, and officials advise using Highway 6 as an alternate route. The closure is at eastbound milemarker 168.

There is currently no expected time of reopening.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is has also posted passenger vehicle traction laws in place at I-70 westbound and eastbound between: Silverthorne and Bakerville (Milemarker 205-221); Vail and Copper Mountain (Milemarker 178-195); CO 9 Southbound / Northbound Hoosier Pass;US 6 Westbound / Eastbound Loveland Pass .

Winter storm watch in effect Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday night

Portions of Northwest, Southwest and West Central Colorado are under a winter storm watch from Tuesday evening through late Wednesday night.

Heavy snow is possible over many of the Western Colorado mountain ranges, with total snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches with higher amounts up to 2 feet on the southwest facing slopes will be possible. Winds gusting as high as 55 mph in exposed areas will also be possible.

Travel could become very difficult at times. Heavy snow and blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility at times.

A winter storm watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel.

Loveland Pass, I-70 at Silverthorne closed due to adverse conditions

Update at 4:15 p.m.: Eastbound I-70 near Silverthorne has been reopened. Loveland Pass will likely remain closed overnight, according to Tracy Trulove of CDOT.

Winter weather conditions have forced CDOT to close a number of roads in the area.

Both east and westbound lanes at Loveland Pass (between mile markers 220 and 229) have been closed due to adverse conditions. In addition, there is a safety closure on eastbound I-70 near the Silverthorne exit due to a crash. There are currently no timetables for the roads to reopen.