Today should be clear, but residents can expect more snow through the next seven days, with storms in the area Thursday and Saturday and more heavy snowfall in mountain passes and at ski resorts."It's going to be an unsettled week," said Chris Cuoco, meteorologist at the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service.
The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for Telluride and the San Juan Mountains. As of Tuesday afternoon, through the last 48 hours Telluride resort had accumulated 16 inches of new snow with a 66-inch base, Wolf Creek Ski Area picked up 41 inches with a 118-inch base and 28 inches dumped on Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, which now has a 71-inch base.
In the same period, Durango received 6 inches of snow. Snow began falling Saturday night after several days of warm, sunny weather and has continued sporadically since.
"The rest of this storm is going to be out of the area by (today)," Cuoco said. "We'll have a respite (today) with brief high pressure and mostly sunny skies; a little bit breezy, but it's going to cloud up again as the next storm moves in."
The weather service puts the chance of precipitation for Thursday at 30 percent and moves up slightly to 30 to 40 percent for Thursday night. The storm is forecasted to clear the area by Friday morning. Another storm is expected to move into the region Saturday and to stay through the weekend.
This storm is expected to be focused on the Red Mountain Pass area, near Ouray, sparing the Durango area the brunt of the snowfall. Cuoco estimates 3 to 4 inches of snow will fall in areas above 7,500 feet in Southwest Colorado, with more snow expected to fall this weekend in lower-lying areas. Durango could collect another 1 to 4 inches of snow during the weekend.
At the passes, Red Mountain Pass got 6 inches in last 48 hours, Molas Pass got 12½ inches and Coal Bank Pass picked up 14 inches.
North-facing mountain slopes, such as Red Mountain Pass, and Wolf Creek Pass are expected to receive 2 to 6 inches of snow Thursday night and delays are possible at the all of the region's passes over the weekend.
Colorado Department of Trans-portation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said CDOT looks at a variety of factors when determining whether to close a road. The rate at which snow is falling, driver visibility and the conditions of the road are all examined.
"When our crews close a road, more than likely it's due to avalanche danger," she said.
U.S. Highway 550, south of Coal Bank, was temporarily closed just before 8 a.m. Tuesday for avalanche-control work, and reopened shortly after.