Winter storms are expected to deliver a one-two punch to the high country this week as a second storm system moved into the region Wednesday night.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued a winter weather advisory for the San Juan Mountains starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, which includes the towns of Silverton, Telluride, Ouray and Hesperus, with up to a foot of snow expected at elevations above 10,000 feet.
This system comes on the heels of the winter storm that dumped about 6 inches of snow in town earlier this week – but Durangoans can probably stow their shovels because little more than an inch of snow is expected in town.
Snow began falling in Durango on Wednesday evening, with the heaviest snowfall expected Thursday morning.
Meteorologist Julie Malingowski of the National Weather Service cautioned drivers to prepare for blowing snow and low visibility on mountain passes.
“The winds are expected to gust as fast as 40 mph, and even faster above 11,000 feet,” she said. “We expect the high passes across the San Juans will have significant reductions in visibility of half a mile or less because of blowing snow.”
Malingowski said temperatures in Durango are expected to hover around 50 degrees by the weekend, effectively melting any remnants of this week’s winter storms.
But fear not for the ski season because another system is on the horizon for early next week – and forecasters predict it will be a big one.
“There is a significant winter weather system possible early next week, but we are still hashing out the details,” Malingowski said. “This is one of the strongest storms we’ve seen this winter.”
While it’s too early to estimate snowfall totals, forecast models show a large low-pressure system moving in from the Pacific Northwest.
“It could potentially produce heavy snow across the region starting on Monday,” Malingowski said.