It’s a solid bet that La Plata County will see snow starting tonight, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Junction said Wednesday.
“It’s a pretty good storm,” Chris Cuoco said, noting there is a winter storm watch in effect for the area from late tonight through late Friday night.
The 70 to 80 percent chance of snow through Friday night drops to 20 percent Saturday.
Cuoco said wind from the southwest will bring cold and dampness, an ideal setup for snow.
The best snow showers will be Friday. Durango could receive up to 6 inches, with up to a foot in higher elevations.
The snow level could reach as low as 6,000 feet elevation. The elevation of Durango is 6,512 feet.
When winds shift to the northwest late Friday through Saturday, the northern slopes will bear the brunt of the storm, Cuoco said.
Today is expected to be partly sunny, with a high temperature of around 45. The high Friday will be around 36.
Saturday will bring a slight chance of snow, with a high temperature around 31 degrees. A slight chance of snow will persist Sunday with a high of 32 degrees and a low Sunday night of 12 degrees.
Snow and blowing snow will restrict visibility at times, making traveling difficult.
Nancy Shanks, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said road crews will be clearing highways where necessary.
The precipitation will be a welcome relief amid the drought conditions that have persisted in the region for much of 2012.
The total flow in the Animas River through Durango during November was the lowest in 102 years of records, state water officials reported last week.
And Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, with only a foot of snow, has been able to open only 9 percent of its terrain, according Wednesday’s snow report on the ski area’s website.
Wolf Creek Ski Area, with a midway depth of 19 inches, was 40 percent open Wednesday, according to its website.
Road conditions and weather are available by dialing 511 or online at www.cotrip.org