A snowstorm that will favor the eastern San Juan Mountains – with Wolf Creek Pass expected to receive between 12 to 16 inches – will move through Southwest Colorado on Thursday evening and Friday morning.
Norv Larson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the heaviest snow should fall between midnight Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday, with the storm moving out of Southwest Colorado by Friday afternoon.
Light snow might begin Thursday evening in Southwest Colorado, he said.
He expected 2 to 3 inches in Durango and about an inch in Cortez. But Pagosa Springs could see as much as 5 inches.
“It’s a pretty fast-moving storm. It won’t stay around long, and by Friday afternoon, it should pretty much be done,” he said.
In the San Juan Mountains, Larson said most snow will fall above 8,000 feet. He expected 6 to 12 inches above 8,000 feet for most areas, but the eastern San Juans could see up to 18 inches, he said.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the eastern San Juan Mountains above 10,000 feet from 2 p.m. Thursday through 5 p.m. Friday.
Wolf Creek Pass could see between 12 to 16 inches, Silverton between 5 and 10 inches and Telluride between 3 and 6 inches, Larson said.
The warning said the storm could bring accumulations of up to 15 inches to the eastern San Juans with wind gusts of up to 65 mph. Travel is expected to be “very difficult” with widespread blowing snow likely to reduce visibility.
The next chance for snow in Southwest Colorado will be Monday night and Tuesday morning. Larson said the storm is likely to bring some snow to the mountains, but it looks unlikely to bring accumulations in the valleys of Southwest Colorado.
“It’s a transitory system, definitely not a big to-do,” he said.
According to Colorado SNOTEL, as of Thursday, the Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan river basins have 116% of the average 30-year snowpack. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has the San Juan Mountains listed at a moderate rating for avalanches.