Winter storms and avalanche warnings issued for western areas of Colorado
As Coloradans work to recover from a recent snowstorm and freeze, which killed at least four people on the Front Range, winter storms returned to the state beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 27, especially in the mountains.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory effective from Wednesday, Dec. 28, until 5 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 29 for Jackson and Routt counties, including parts of Grand County west of Kremmling. Snow is ongoing as of Wednesday afternoon, and additional accumulations of 4-9 inches is are expected. In some areas, wind gusts are forecast to get up to 45 mph.
The mountains around Vail, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Telluride will likely see 7-14 inches. The highest amount of snowfall will hit southwest of Grand County, which may see accumulations of 2 feet in some areas. According to OpenSnow.com, areas near Crested Butte could see 48 inches of accumulation over the next five days.
During this wintry week, OpenSnow is predicting Steamboat Springs Resort could receive 3 feet of snow between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2. On Wednesday morning, Steamboat Springs Resort shared that the resort has had its snowiest December in a decade. Winter Park Resort and Keystone Resort are each expected to receive around 10 inches through Jan. 1, according to OpenSnow.
On the Front Range, the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory from Dec. 28-29 for Boulder, Denver and Larimer counties, as well as others areas of the region.
While winter storms will bring much-needed snow to local ski resorts this week, it also will elevate the avalanche risk in the backcountry.
After the death of a backcountry snowboarder at Berthoud Pass, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued avalanche warnings for many areas, including Routt County. The avalanche warnings are in effect from Dec. 27 to Thursday, Dec. 29 at 8:15 a.m.
Avalanche danger is rated high (a level 4 out of 5) at the following areas: Eastern San Juan Mountains Above 10,000 feet; Elkhead and Park Mountains; Flat Tops; Grand and Battlement Mesas; La Garita Mountains Above 10,000 feet; Northwestern San Juan Mountains; Southwest San Juan Mountains; Upper Rio Grande Valley, Eastern San Juan Mountains Below 10,000 feet; West Elk; and Sawatch Mountains.
“Expect widespread avalanche activity large enough to bury or kill a person. Some avalanches will release spontaneously. Travel in backcountry avalanche terrain is not recommended,” the Colorado Avalanche Information Center posted on their website.
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