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Bitter cold for Colorado's plains through weekend; snow and high avalanche danger for mountains

Wind chill advisories, winter storm watches, avalanche watches in effect
Posted at 11:27 AM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 17:40:29-05

DENVER – Temperatures across the Colorado plains were in the single digits or slightly below zero Friday morning, and the bitter cold will remain through the weekend while the mountains see widespread snow.

Across the state, there are wind chill advisories in effect for the Eastern Plains, winter weather advisories for the Steamboat Springs and northwestern Colorado areas, avalanche watches in the Aspen, Gunnison, Grand Mesa and Steamboat and Flat Tops zones, and a winter storm watch in effect for far southeastern Colorado on Friday.

Bitter cold for Colorado's plains through weekend; snow and high avalanche danger for mountains

Denver and the plains saw a dusting of snow overnight along with below-and-near-zero temperatures. In Denver, temperatures are expected to reach the teens Friday but continue to fall through Sunday. But on the northeastern plains, temperatures will stay in the single-digits for much of the next three days, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind chills could dip as low as -25 degrees Friday into Monday morning on the northeastern plains, according to the National Weather Service, which warns that frostbite and hypothermia are possible if people do not protect themselves.

The inversion and easterly winds are keeping most of the coldest air on the northeastern side of the state, and the mountains were in the 20s and 30s as of Friday morning, though temperatures will drop into the weekend.

Winter storm watches are in effect for Kiowa, Bent, Prowers and Baca counties from Saturday into Sunday afternoon, where 4 to 6 inches of snow are possible, along with blowing snow and wind chills that could dip to -30. The Sangre de Cristos and higher elevations of the eastern San Juans are also under winter storm watches for snow – with up to 8 to 16 inches possible in the Sangre de Cristos.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche watch for the Steamboat and Flat Tops, Grand Mesa, Aspen and Gunnison Zones though 8 p.m. Saturday, with heavy snow likely across the mountains falling on top of a weak snowpack that the CAIC warns could cause massive and deadly avalanches. Nine people have already died in Colorado avalanches this season.

Northern and northwestern Colorado will likely see 6 to 12 inches of snow into Saturday morning, with some higher totals at the upper elevations and winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour.

On Saturday into Sunday, 2 to 4 inches of snow are possible, with the mountains seeing higher amounts through Sunday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol are already warning that chain and traction laws will be in effect on most mountain highways starting Friday and through the weekend. Travel will likely be slow.

You can keep up with the latest weather conditions and forecasts from the Denver7 weather team by clicking here. The latest statewide road conditions can be found here. And you can follow along 24/7 with the latest live weather updates by watching the Denver7 weather stream.

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