Wintry weather is expected in southern Colorado with heavy snow in the mountains and blizzard conditions in the southeastern plains.
A blizzard advisory, winter storm warning, winter weather advisory and winter storm watch have been posted in widespread parts of southern and southeastern Colorado where travel will be “difficult to impossible” overnight in eastern Las Animas and Baca counties as winds gust up to 65 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
“Snow will increase (Tuesday) afternoon and spread east across portions of southern Colorado through tonight,” according to the weather service.
Heavy snow is forecast for the San Juan and La Garita Mountains on Tuesday afternoon with accumulations in the 10- to 18-inch range overnight, the weather service said. “Snow will likely spill into the southern portions of the San Luis Valley, and then upslope on the western side of the valley.”
In southeastern Colorado, a blizzard warning is posted for Baca and Las Animas counties, according to the weather service. Total snow accumulation will only be between 2 to 4 inches, but winds gusting up to 65 mph will create potentially dangerous travel conditions. “Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility and strong north winds will produce strong cross winds,” especially for travelers on U.S. Highway 160. The blizzard could down trees and power lines causing power outages. The blizzard warning starts at midnight Tuesday and runs through noon Wednesday. Travel should be restricted to “emergencies only.”
The Colorado Department of Transportation anticipates numerous highway closures during the widespread snowstorm and blizzard.
“Drivers should keep a close watch on the weather conditions and plan to stay off the roads,” CDOT said in a news release. Heavy snow and strong winds are expected along Interstate 25 from Pueblo south to Raton Pass, areas east and west of Walsenburg and Trinidad, and along the U.S. 287 corridor, including Lamar and Springfield. Travel over La Veta Pass, U.S. 160, could be “hazardous.”
CDOT snowplow crews “will be out in force,” initially concentrating on primary routes — I-25 and U.S. highways 50, 160 and 287. Highways and roads are expected to be heavily snow packed overnight. “It’s best to stay off the roads during a heavy snow event,” CDOT said.
Lingering snow will continue over the southeastern plains and the Raton Mesa through Wednesday morning, but will dissipate by afternoon, the weather service said. Strong winds will continue Wednesday morning, especially in eastern Las Animas and Baca counties. A warming trend is expected to kick in Thursday after the wintry system moves out.
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