Finally, snow is on the way to Southwest Colorado.
“It’s not just a possibility,” said Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “It’s actually going to be here.”
According to Phillips, a snowstorm is expected to start Wednesday evening in northeast Utah and slide into central Colorado by midnight.
By Thursday morning, the storm is predicted to hit the southwest portion of the state and continue most of the day Thursday. The storm should wrap up by Friday morning, he said.
For lower elevations around Durango and along the U.S. Highway 160 corridor, Phillips said anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of snow is expected to fall. In the high country, 5 to 10 inches are expected, with localized amounts up to 12 inches.
“Hopefully, Purgatory (Resort) will get 4 to 8 inches by the time this is done,” Phillips said.
He said a large and persistent high-pressure ridge on the West Coast has blocked all storms and moisture from reaching the interior West, especially Western and Southwestern Colorado.
As of Tuesday, the Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan basins were at 21 percent of snow-water equivalent averages. The state, as a whole, is at just 49 percent.
However, Phillips said Tuesday that the ridge of the West Coast has broken down, allowing more moisture and weather systems to reach the region.
“It’s a whole pattern change,” Phillips said. “That ridge is no longer the dominant feature out there, and that helps.”
Phillips said weather conditions could complicate travel Thursday, especially as people begin traveling for the holidays. The bulk of snow is expected to fall Thursday morning, he said.
Although the breakdown of the high-pressure ridge has allowed the first major snowstorm of the year to move into the region, that doesn’t mean there’ll be an onslaught of fresh powder.
Phillips said the weather is forecast to remain dry with a high in the 30s or 40s from Friday through the rest of the weekend.