Some mountain passes in the Southwest Colorado reopened Wednesday afternoon as the latest winter storm moves through the region.
Lisa Schwantes, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon that:
U.S. Highway 160 at Wolf Creek Pass reopened at 10:30 a.m. U.S. Highway 550 at Coal Bank and Molas passes reopened at 12:50 p.m.Colorado Highway 145 at Lizard Head Pass remained closed Wednesday afternoon.
A good chance of rain and snow will continue across much of E UT and W CO into Thursday. Dry and warmer by Friday and into the weekend. pic.twitter.com/Zg0WGwpm18— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) March 13, 2019
A winter storm warning is in effect until 12:01 a.m. Thursday for the high country of the San Juan Mountains, including the towns of Silverton, Hesperus and Rico.
Up to a foot of snow is expected to fall Wednesday at elevations above 9,000 feet. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction said areas above 12,000 feet may receive more than 2 feet of snow.
The heaviest snow was expected to fall Wednesday morning.
La Plata Electric Association said customers can expect momentary or prolonged outages as wet snow builds on power lines and tree branches. LPEA had not reported any known outages as of 8:45 a.m.
Snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches are expected at lower elevations, according to CDOT.
Elsewhere in southern Colorado, U.S. Highway 160 at La Veta Pass is closed and Colorado Highway 17 is closed at La Manga and Cumbres pass.
#CAICSSanJuan HI(4of5) AVALANCHE WARNING Very dangerous conditions. Heavy snow & wind pushing snowpack to tipping point. Avys breaking in storm snow can step down to old, weak snow = massive & unsurvivable avy. Avoid traveling in or below avy terrain. https://t.co/2EC1fFh9UA— CAIC:Statewide Info (@COAvalancheInfo) March 13, 2019
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning for the southern San Juan Mountains, as backcountry travel becomes dangerous. The center advised backcountry users to avoid crossing or traveling below avalanche terrain and other steep slopes.
“Natural and human-triggered avalanches are very likely,” the CAIC said. “They could break hundreds or thousands of feet wide and run to valley floors. Avalanches are impacting lower elevations and locations that have not seen avalanche activity in recent years. A potent storm with wet, heavy snow and strong shifting winds will keep avalanche conditions dangerous.”