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Live updates: Colorado mountains receiving first heavy snowfall of the season

Snow expected to continue to push east through Thursday; Denver's best chance is Friday morning
Posted: 5:08 PM, Dec 09, 2021
Updated: 2021-12-14 22:44:11-05
Snow in Denver 7 a.m. Dec 10 2021

DENVER – We’re finally getting some meaningful and widespread snowfall in the Colorado mountains to round out this week, which should be a much-needed boost for the meager snowpack.

Meanwhile, a whopping three-tenths of an inch of snow fell at Denver International Airport Friday, setting the new record for the latest-ever first snowfall in a season and putting 2021 tied for first all-time on the list of longest snowless streaks.

MORE: Latest on what to expect | Today's forecast | Denver7 Weather | Radars | 24/7 Weather Stream | Live Streaming Radar | Colorado road conditions | Snow totals

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are in effect for the mountain until Friday afternoon, where some higher elevations could get 2 feet of snow.

Denver7 Weather

We’ll be tracking the storm and putting the latest snow and road updates from across the state in the story below. Refresh the page for the latest. (All times Mountain)

Friday, Dec. 10

11:58 a.m. | I-70 back open at tunnels

Westbound Interstate 70 has reoepened between the Loveland Pass exit and Silverthorne after a safety closure was put in place around 10:40 a.m.

11:38 a.m. | Tying record for longest snowless streak

Denver has landed at a tie with the all-time longest snowless streak in the city — a whopping 232 days. The previous record is from 1887.

The NWS said it incorrectly said the longest streak was 235 days, and has fixed it to reflect 232 days.

Click here to read more on what today's snowfall means for the official recordbooks.

9:38 a.m. | Snow starting to shift eastward

Snow has shifted to the Palmer Divide and east of I-76, according to the NWS. Roads will stay slick for the next few hours.

However, one streak remains along the Front Range — a five-mile-wide band of snow.

For the latest road reports from CDOT, call 511 or go to their website at

9:03 a.m. | RECORD BROKEN: Measurable snow falls in Denver

Our snowless streak is officially over — 0.3 inches have been measured at the Denver International Airport as of now. Of course, we’re still very behind on the amount of snow Denver usually sees by this time. 2021 is coming to a close as one of the driest back halves of the year ever.

Denver went 232 consecutive days without snow.

Mild and dry conditions will return after today through the middle of next week.

7:45 a.m. | Update on crashes around the Denver metro area

Several crashes have been reported around Denver. Here's a list of current areas to avoid due to the collisions:

  • C470 near I-70
  • C470 near Bowles
  • C470 near Wadsworth
  • Off ramp from westbound C470 to Highway 85 (involving fuel tanker on westbound C470 that rolled over, causing a diesel spill. No injuries reported)
  • Westbound I-70 near Kipling in the left lane
  • Clear Creek Canyon/Highway 6 west of Golden closed up to CO 119
Dec 10 2021 crash 470 near Wadsworth

7:30 a.m. | Stronger bursts of snow in Denver

A few small, but stronger bands of snow are moving across the city, bringing heavier snow as drivers start to head out on their commutes. Several crashes have been reported, so drive carefully this morning. Many roads are slick.

5:49 a.m. | Roaring Fork Schools closed today

Roaring Fork Schools in Glenwood Springs is closed today due to the weather conditions and extremely icy roads.

5:30 a.m. | Light snow reaches Denver

Some light snow is falling in downtown Denver. More snow is falling west of the city. We're keeping an eye on the snowfall to see if and when it starts to accumulate.

12:15 a.m. | Latest forecast

Denver7 Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson says the snow in the mountains will continue overnight and the Denver metro just might break its snow-free streak.

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 10 p.m. winter weather update

12 a.m. | Colorado's mountain towns welcome first heavy snowfall

The season's delayed snowfall had impacted Colorado's ski resorts and mountain town businesses in one or another, and Thursday's wintry weather provided much needed relief.

Colorado's mountain towns welcome first heavy snowfall

Thursday, Dec. 9

11:45 p.m. | Snow totals for Dec. 9-10 2021: Snow adding up in the mountains with more on the way

There's still no snow falling in the Denver metro area just yet, but it's beginning to pile up in the mountains as of Thursday night.

Not much is expected in the Denver area, likely less than an inch, but it could be enough to finally break the snow-free streak.

The mountains, on the other hand, are seeing their first heavy snow of the season.

Click here to see the full list of snow totals so far.

9:30 p.m. | Heaviest snowfall shifting southeast, NWS says

The National Weather Service in Boulder says the heaviest snowfall in the mountains will shift southeast into Summit County and the I-70 corridor.

The NWS warns that road conditions will continue to deteriorate through Friday with slick roads and poor visibility at times.

5:40 p.m. | Latest from Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson

Denver7 Chief Meteorologist has the latest look at current snow conditions and what to expect going into Friday. Watch his forecast in the player below.

Thursday, December 9, 2021 evening forecast

5:06 p.m. | Snow picking up in the high country; avalanche warnings issued

More snow has started to develop across the mountains as of 5 p.m., and the storm was expected to strengthen through the evening. The National Weather Service said travel would not be recommended in the mountains Thursday night into Friday morning.

By 5 p.m., more than 11 inches had already fallen near Rabbit Ears Pass, and the heaviest snowfall totals extended along a line from there to the east toward Rocky Mountain National Park. Several areas in Summit County had also received 3 inches of snow by 5 p.m.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued avalanche warnings for the Steamboat/Flat Tops, Aspen, Gunnison, North San Juan and South San Juan zones from 4 p.m. Thursday until 11:59 p.m. Friday.

“Heavy snow and strong winds will result in numerous natural avalanches on Thursday night,” the CAIC said. “Very dangerous avalanche conditions continue into Friday with human-triggered avalanches very likely.”

Here's a look at the expected impacts to Interstate 70 from the NWS:

12:40 p.m. | Colorado mountains on track for heavy snow into Friday; Denver area should expect less than an inch

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories remain in effect for most of the higher-elevation mountains through Friday afternoon, with general accumulations forecast to be around 8 to 20 inches in areas under winter storm warnings, and with some locally higher totals possible near Rabbit Ears Pass and in the San Juan Mountains.

West Jackson and west Grand counties are forecast to get 15-30 inches in the storm; the Rocky Mountain National Park and Medicine Bow Range areas can expect 10-20 inches; the eastern Sawatch and San Juan Mountains could see 20 to 30 inches; and the mountains further west could see 1 to 2 feet.

“Snowfall amounts up to 2 feet seem likely above 8500 to 9000 feet and wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the higher elevation snotels receive close to 3 feet of snow from this system. The valleys, however, remain a bit uncertain,” NWS Grand Junction forecasters wrote Thursday morning.

Thursday 11:15 a.m. weather and snow forecast

Winter weather advisories are in effect for Summit County, the Mosquito Range, and Indian Peaks until 5 p.m. Friday, with 4 to 10 inches of snow expected.

A winter storm watch is in effect for the I-70 corridor near Glenwood Springs and Parachute, where about 3 to 6 inches of snow are expected.

Winds could gust up to 50 miles per hour across much of the high country during the storm as well, the National Weather Service said.

Snow had already developed by 11:30 a.m. Thursday across most of western Colorado, and it will move eastward through the day Thursday, which is when the heaviest snow is expected to fall, according to forecasters.

Unfortunately, forecast snow totals for Denver and the plains continue to drop from the meager 1-2 inches that were forecast for this storm earlier this week, and there is now a question if Denver will even see the one-tenth of an inch that is needed to be considered measurable.

The National Weather Service said Thursday the cold front should arrive in the Denver area around 3 a.m. Friday but that snow might not develop – if it does at all – until around 7 a.m.

“[The] best chance for the I-25 corridor will be right behind the front Friday morning into midday,” NWS Boulder forecasters wrote Thursday morning, saying drier downslope air will move in Friday afternoon.

But the forecasters did not sound thrilled about the latest models bringing any substantial snowfall to the metro area.

“It’s hard to envision much snowfall occurring in that narrow window Friday morning given so many things against it, most importantly dry low-level air in place, then reinforced during the afternoon, and essentially no upslope flow east of the foothills,” they said.

“It’s quite possible many areas along the Front Range get no snow at all,” the forecasters continued. “High res models really don’t like snowfall chances for the I-25 corridor.”

Click here to read the full story on the latest forecasts.

5:14 a.m. | Denver looking at its first official snow of the season

A strong storm system will push across Colorado over the next two days and bring heavy snow to the mountains and at least a little snow for Denver and the eastern plains.

Snow will increase over the mountains today, with clouds thickening over eastern Colorado. The snow will become heavy at times in the mountains Thursday afternoon with some thunder and lightning possible — a sign of a vigorous storm! One to two feet of snow will be possible along and west of the Continental Divide with this storm.

Highs will be in the low 50s in Denver this afternoon. The weather will turn colder Thursday night and Friday with — finally — a chance for snow in Denver! It will not be a major storm, but perhaps up to an inch will fall by midday Friday. This type of storm typically leaves the most snow over the mountains, just a little in Denver and a bit more across the northeast corner of the state.

Click here to read the full forecast.