Southwest Colorado is in for another rainy week at lower elevations and late May snow at higher elevations, and the pattern of higher-than-normal precipitation is expected to extend through the summer.
Ben Moyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said lower elevations of Southwest Colorado, along the U.S. Highway 160 corridor can expect alternating periods of heavy rain, light rain and breaks in the rain from Sunday night through Thursday.
In the high country, above 9,000 feet, the pattern will repeat, but with snow instead of rain, he said.
Cool, wet conditions continue across our region with multiple disturbances forecast to move through this week. Several inches of snow likely pic.twitter.com/iCQFlUowci— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) May 19, 2019
A winter weather advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday for the San Juan Mountains including the towns of Silverton, Telluride, Ouray and Lake City. Moyer added the winter weather advisory is likely to be extended by the weather service later into the week.
“We are expecting snow throughout the high country this week,” he said.
The winter weather advisory means travelers can expect periods of snow accumulations from 5 to 10 inches and wind gusts above 40 mph, principally above 9,000 feet.
Periods of snow are expected to cause travel difficulties, and people on Wolf Creek, Molas, Coal Bank, Red Mountain and Lizard Head passes should expect periods of limited visibility and snow-covered roads, Moyer said.
Sunday and Monday night temperatures in Silverton are expected to dip to 24 and 20 degrees, respectively. In Telluride, Sunday and Monday night temperatures are expected to sink to 27 and 24 degrees.
Moyer said lows will be in the 20s above 9,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains.
In more populated river valleys at lower elevations, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Mancos and Dolores can all expect to see a few snowflakes mixed with rain, especially at night, Moyer said.
Low temperatures could hit freezing in Pagosa Springs, Mancos and Dolores on Monday night. But freezing nighttime temperatures are not expected in Durango and Cortez.
Residents living near lower elevation river valleys can expect periods of heavy rain broken by periods of lighter rain and breaks in the rain from Sunday night through Thursday, Moyer said.
Any lower elevation nighttime snowfall should not lead to accumulations, he added.
Moyer said a weak El Niño system remains in place favoring above-normal precipitation throughout the Four Corners.
“We do still have a weak El Niño pattern in place, and that certainly can have an impact on the weather patterns in southern Colorado, he said.
He added the National Climatic Data Center predicts wetter-than-normal weather patterns through summer for southern Colorado.
“Odds favor a wetter-than-normal June. The whole summer as well,” Moyer said.