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Whoa, here comes snow!

Winter-storm warning in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday

Flanked by Sam on the left and Marley on the right, Brian Walsh and 3-year-old son Miles Walsh sled at Buckley Park in Durango Friday. Enlarge photo

JOSH STEPHENSON/Durango Herald

Flanked by Sam on the left and Marley on the right, Brian Walsh and 3-year-old son Miles Walsh sled at Buckley Park in Durango Friday.

A powerful storm moving through the area is expected to leave residents with an unfamiliar sight: peaks and valley floors covered in white.

Snow showers, driven by winds from the southwest, are expected throughout the day and evening today.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction was predicting up to a foot could fall in Durango before the storm starts to move out Saturday. More was predicted for higher elevations.

Snow is expected at elevations under 6,000 feet.

A winter storm warning will last until 6 a.m. Saturday.

The southwest winds are expected to change to west and northwest this afternoon.

Travis Booth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said weak waves could follow the main storm Saturday and Sunday and then again about mid-week.

“It appears they will go further to the north,” Booth said. “They’re fast movers and probably will hit glancing blows, but the Durango area could receive a few showers.”

The high temperatures today, Saturday and Sunday will be around 35 degrees. Lows will drop into the teens Friday night and continue falling as the storm moves out.

Kim Oyler, spokeswoman for Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, said there was 12 inches of snow at mid-mountain Thursday.

The resort, which continues to make its own snow, expects up to 18 inches today, Oyler said.

“We’re just as excited as anyone else about getting snow,” she said.

Wolf Creek Ski Area has 21 inches of snow at the summit, and it expects to receive a good amount from this storm, Elesha Goad said.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said snowplow crews were prepared for a foot of snow at lower elevations and up to 2 feet in the mountains.

Dozens of snowplows are available for the area, Shanks said.

Shanks expects commercial vehicles will need tire chains. She said plow crews would be working 12-hour shifts.

Highways can be treacherous, Shanks said. Information about highway conditions and is available by telephoning 511 or online at www.cotrip.org.

daler@durangoherald.com