Southwest Colorado can expect one storm after another traveling through the area well into next week."There's a fast, progressive flow over the whole country right now," said Ellen Heffernan, a meteorologist at the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service. "We keep seeing weather disturbances moving in and moving out."
Heffernan is predicting that Durango Mountain Resort and other high-altitude areas will receive from 10 to 20 inches from Monday noon through this afternoon.
The Molas Pass monitoring station for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center had measured almost 14 inches in the 24 hours from 10 p.m. Sunday through 10 p.m. Monday.
At Durango's elevation, the weather service expects 4 to 9 inches from this storm by this afternoon.
"There's a chance of snow developing again by Thursday afternoon through Thursday night," Heffernan said. "Snow is most likely on the higher peaks."
And that's not the end of it.
"The next one after that looks like it will take place on Saturday and Saturday night," she said. "And there's another one after that."
Heffernan didn't make any predictions on snowfall from the next few storm fronts.
The avalanche center said avalanche danger is considerable in the southern San Juan Mountains.
"There is a considerable likelihood of human-triggered and natural avalanches," the organization's Web site said, "especially above the tree line on north, northeast, east and southeast facing aspects."
The CAIC had measured wind gusts up to 30 mph on Molas Pass and up to 54 mph on Wolf Creek Pass during the previous 24 hours as of 10 p.m. Monday.
As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, the Colorado Department of Transportation had declared restrictions on Molas, Coal Bank and Red Mountain passes. Snow tires, chains or four-wheel drive were required on all three.
Wolf Creek Pass only had restrictions on commercial vehicles as of that time.
"In these storms off the Pacific, there's a lot of moisture," Heffernan said. "We can't say it's due to El Niño or La Niña, because our weather is very variable even in those patterns."