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Snowstorm continues to impact mountains, blowing snow likely on eastern plains

elk in snow.jpg
Posted at 3:50 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 13:39:07-05

DENVER – Strong winds that caused blowing and drifting snow over much of northeastern Colorado on Tuesday morning continued for the rest of the day, as blizzard warnings remain in effect through midnight Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.

Parts of Weld, Adams, Arapahoe, Elbert, and Lincoln counties; as well as all of Logan, Washington, Kit Carson, Yuma, Phillips and Sedgwick counties remain under a blizzard warning through midnight Tuesday due to ongoing blizzard conditions with winds gusting between 55 and 60 mph in some areas.

As of late Tuesday morning, the Colorado State Patrol was warning travelers that “everything north of I-70” was closed due to whiteout conditions on all major roads in Colorado’s eastern plains and advised travelers to not attempt driving through the area as there would be no way out once in.

Visibility on the roads in the far northeast plains of Colorado, including the I-76 corridor, the cities of Akron, Last chance, Sterling, Wiggins, Deer Trail, Brush, Fort Morgan, among others, will continue to deteriorate for the rest of the afternoon and will be treacherous and potentially life-threatening between 6 p.m. and midnight Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).


The potential for higher amounts of snow accumulation in the eastern plains than previously forecast “remains a possibility,” NWS officials said in their short-term discussion due to the placement of a deformation band on the backside of the low pressure system currently moving through the state.

“Amounts may end up closer to 8 inches or slightly more rather than the previous 4-6 inches for east Denver and eastern Weld County,” forecasters wrote.

The mountains will be another story as snow will continue Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday, making travel hazardous, especially for the mountain passes where it will be windy and snow covered, they said.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday for the Elkhead and Park mountains due to heavy snow which could bring accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts, according to the NWS in Grand Junction.

Winter weather advisories also remain in effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday for Rabbit Ears Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Medicine Bow Range, the Mountains of Summit County, the Mosquito Range, and the Indian Peaks, the NWS said. Those traveling to the mountains through Wednesday afternoon should expect roads to be slick and hazardous due to widespread blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has also issued an avalanche warning until Wednesday for the Park Range, Medicine Bow Mountains, Never Summer Mountains, and the Northern Front Range including Rocky Mountain National Park as avalanche danger is high.

"Large avalanches can release spontaneously that can kill you. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended," CAIC officials said Tuesday afternoon.

Blizzard Warning will remain for much of eastern plains through midnight, mountains will see ongoing snow Wed.

In its forecast discussion, NWS officials said the strong storm will be over the central plains on Wednesday and then move toward the Great Lakes area by Thursday, with cold and very windy conditions persisting behind the storm Wednesday and Thursday.

Periods of light snow will be possible throughout Wednesday with gusty winds producing blowing snow, with gusts between 50 to 60 mph still possible through the afternoon hours with considerable blowing snow and poor visibility in open areas, according to the NWS.

Highs in northern Colorado will range from the mid 20s over the far northern plains with mid-30s closer to the Front Range, forecasters wrote.

By Wednesday night and into Thursday, moisture will decrease in the mountains, but they’re not ruling out areas that could see lingering light snow.

Across the plains, the weather will be dry, but a cold front will move across with gusty north-northwest winds which could still produce areas of blowing snow.

The mountains will see another chance of light snow by Thursday night into Friday due a disturbance in northerly flow, while the plains will see dry weather with less wind and highs remaining in the mid 20s to lower 30s.

For the weekend, NWS forecaster said we can expect dry weather along the I-25 Corridor, with readings reaching soaring back into the lower 40s, but areas with linger snow may stay in the upper 20s to mid 30s.

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