A powerful Pacific storm is expected to bring Southwest Colorado 4 to 8 inches of snow today through Wednesday morning and snot-blowing cold for the rest of the week.
A winter storm watch is in effect through Wednesday afternoon.
The heaviest potential snowfall is expected today, meteorologist Chris Cuoco at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said. Up to 30 inches could fall on elevations above 9,000 feet, he said.
Temperatures will drop, with the high Tuesday around 37 degrees and the low, 18 degrees. It will be colder Wednesday and Thursday with highs of 27 and 30 and lows of zero and 5, respectively.
Clearing should begin Wednesday, with a mixture of sun and clouds but no precipitation, through Sunday. Temperatures will remain frigid, with highs around 40 and lows around 10.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort reported 20 inches of new snow from the last storm. Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 51 inches from Friday into early Monday.
Briggen Wrinkle, who reports Durango snow totals to the National Weather Service, said the city received a total of one foot of snow and 1.38 inches of precipitation from the storm.
Sgt. Robert Taylor with the Durango Police Department said there were no major traffic accidents in the city Monday.
The National Weather Service said blowing snow and whiteout conditions at times over mountain passes will make travel hazardous.
Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said snowplow crews are on 12-hour shifts on the 60 miles on U.S. Highway 550 from Cascade to Ouray. Four crews are on duty each shift, she said.
It has snowed off and on since Friday, with accumulation of 30 inches on Coalbank Pass, 17 on Molas Pass and 18 inches on Red Mountain Pass, Shanks said.
A number of drivers have been pulled out of ditches, but there have been no serious accidents, Shanks said.
Plow crews triggered the first avalanche of the season, bringing down four slides in the Blue Point area north of Red Mountain Pass
The slides covered a 100-foot stretch of U.S. Highway 550 to a depth of 8 feet, Shanks said.
Road crews are expecting 7 to 14 inches of snow on the three Highway 550 passes and about the same amount on Lizard Head Pass.
Weather and road conditions are available by telephoning 511 or online at www.cotrip.org.