It’s looking like Southwest Colorado is on track for a white Christmas.
Scott Sterns, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a storm system approaching from the southwest out of the Pacific Ocean is headed for the Four Corners, and it should hit Tuesday on Christmas Eve.
The storm will be the first of true winter, which starts today, also known as the winter solstice, marking it the shortest day of the year. In Southwest Colorado, that means only about 9½ hours of sunlight. That’s about five hours shorter than the longest day of the year in June.
The silver lining of winter solstice: The days only get longer from here.
The snow is expected to start flying Tuesday morning in the high country of the San Juan Mountains, with the first heavy wave of snowfall Tuesday afternoon. Snow is expected to consistently fall into Wednesday, and when all is said and done, the storm could drop a foot of snow in higher elevations.
At lower elevations around Durango, anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall Tuesday through Wednesday.
But, Sterns cautioned, the storm is far enough out to make it hard to predict just how much snow will fall and where.
“We’re watching it closely,” he said. “As it approaches land, we’ll have a better idea.”
Sterns said if the storm comes through, it is likely holiday travel will be affected. He added that weather models show a possible second storm later in the week, but it’s too early to say for sure.