Don’t expect to put away the snow shovels anytime soon – Southwest Colorado is expected to be hit by another snowstorm beginning Sunday night and extending to sunrise Tuesday.
To top it off, the long-expected designation of an El Niño year has been made by the Climate Prediction Center.
A winter storm advisory has been issued from 3 p.m. Sunday until 6 p.m. Tuesday for the San Juan Mountains, including Hesperus, Silverton, Rico, Telluride, Ouray and Lake City. The warning means travel will be hazardous or impossible during the storm.
More #snow for the #SanJuans and areas south. Snow begins this afternoon and continues through Tuesday. Expect lulls throughout the event. Heaviest snow Monday afternoon/evening thru Tuesday. #WhereisSpring #cowx #utwx pic.twitter.com/vRAJVTP4MU— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) February 17, 2019
Scott Stearns, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Durango could see a total of 8 inches from the storm from Sunday night through Tuesday morning. He said most of the snow from the storm is expected to fall Monday, Presidents Day.
Higher elevations in the San Juan Mountains could see up to 2 feet of snow, Stearns said.
Winds expected during the storm should favor snow accumulations on south-facing slopes, he said.
High temperatures in Durango are expected to range from 30 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Low temperatures in Durango are expected at 12 degrees Sunday night and 14 degrees Monday night. Lows Tuesday night are expected to plunge to zero degrees and 7 degrees Wednesday night.
Another snowstorm is expected to move into Southwest Colorado late Wednesday and Thursday, with most of the snowfall expected Thursday, Stearns said.
According to a news release issued last week by the Climate Prediction Center, “Weak El Niño conditions are present and are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2019.”
El Niño years favor above-average snowfall in the Southwest United States, including Southwest Colorado.
Purgatory Resort is reporting 2 feet of snow in the last four days with a base depth of 69 inches. Wolf Creek Ski Area Reports 19 inches of snow from the last storm with a midway depth of 93 inches. Telluride Ski Resort reports 9 inches of snow in the last 48 hours and a base depth of 64 inches.
The Colorado Avalanche Center reports the avalanche danger as considerable, or a 3 on a 5-point scale with a 5 being an extreme danger of avalanches.