If you’re traveling over the Colorado high country on Monday for President’s Day weekend, beware: a storm entered the region on Sunday and is expected to dump a significant amount of snow.
A winter storm warning was in effect from Sunday night to Tuesday morning for the high county of Southwest Colorado. The storm could drop up to 2 feet of snow.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued the winter storm warning from 5 p.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Tuesday, which includes the towns of Hesperus, Lake City, Ouray, Rico, Silverton and Telluride.
In that time, heavy and blowing snow is expected, creating hazardous travel conditions. The NWS predicts snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches, with localized amounts up to two feet. Wind gusts will also be an issue, the NWS said. Wind speeds could reach as high as 50 mph, causing widespread blowing and drifting snow.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the NWS said.
In Durango, there’s a chance of rain before 11 p.m. Sunday, then rain with mixed snow showers throughout the night. Less than a half inch of snow is expected to accumulate Sunday night into Monday morning.
On Monday morning, the NWS is calling for rain in Durango, with temperatures in the low-to-mid 40s. Winds could reach 25 mph and there’s also the chance of thunderstorms. Up to 2 inches of snow accumulation is possible.
The real chance for snow in town doesn’t arrive until after 7 p.m. Monday as temperatures drop to 15 degrees. Up to 2 inches of snow could fall in that time. The storm is expected to leave by Tuesday afternoon, paving the way for sunny and dry conditions for the rest of the week, the NWS said.
The abnormally dry and warm weather in Southwest Colorado this winter has broken in the past few weeks, with snow storms returning some sense of normalcy to this winter.
As of Sunday, Southwest Colorado’s snowpack is at 49 percent of normal based on historical records.