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Massive weekend snowstorm takes aim at Colorado

March 11, 2021, 5:02 pm

The Colorado Department of Transportation is warning it will likely be a great weekend for skiers (if you can get to the slopes) but a very messy weekend along the Interstate 70 corridor as a major winter storm moves into the state on Friday.

Here’s the alert CDOT issued on Thursday:

“Winter Storm Warning in Effect. The National Weather Forecast models show the potential for heavy snowfall Friday night through Sunday along Interstate 25, the eastern plains and the Interstate 70 mountain corridor up to the Continental Divide. Travelers should plan to get to their destination Friday and be prepared to stay through Monday. Passenger cars will need adequate tires. Commercial transport will need chains. Road closures are likely. There will be no parking available to commercial transports between Denver and Grand Junction.”

Opensnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz has upgraded his forecast snowfall totals for the mountains after earlier in the week calling for less snow in the high country and far more on the Front Range. Here’s what he was saying Thursday morning:

“Thursday and Friday will bring times of showers and times of dry weather. From Friday night through Monday morning, an intense and slow-moving storm will bring snow to all mountains with 10-30 inches for most areas, 20-40 inches near the northern divide, and 30-60 inches east of the divide and near and north of I-70. I do not exaggerate but I am prone to excitement. And I am excited!”

Vail and Beaver Creek got a blast of four or five inches of snow Tuesday night but both still are under 200 inches for the season (average is 330), which was extended by a week on Monday.

Here’s a press release issued Thursday by the office of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis:

DENVER – Today, Governor Polis provided an update on steps Colorado is taking to prepare for the upcoming winter weather. Governor Polis was joined by Director Shoshanna Lew of the Colorado Department of Transportation; John Lorme, Director of Maintenance and Operations, CDOT; and Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. 

“Please, do the right thing this weekend and keep yourself and others safe by staying off the roads unless absolutely necessary, especially during the peak of this storm. It’s critical that we let our state’s snow crews do their work to keep roads clear for our emergency and essential workers,” said Governor Jared Polis. 

Governor Polis today authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist with search and rescue requests through the State Emergency Operations Center from 12:00 p.m. on Friday – 12:00 p.m. on Monday. 

“If you can stay safe in your home or in another location, especially during the peak of this storm, our crews will have a greater ability to do their jobs, keep essential travel possible as much as possible, and return our state roadways to a safe and clear condition,” said Director Shoshanna Lew of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“This storm forecast is different from the typical high country- mountain passes that typically see 2-3 foot totals. Instead of directing our resources to those passes as we usually do, we have  shifted some resources throughout the state so that extra crews and equipment will work the highways and interstates that see the worst of the storm,” said John Lorme, Director of Maintenance and Operations, CDOT.

“We ask that you do everything you can to stay home and stay off the roads. However, if you must drive, be cognizant of the changing conditions and take a slow, cautious approach,” stated Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “The Colorado State Patrol is adjusting schedules to optimize our staffing levels in areas anticipated to be most impacted by the storm. If you need help in an emergency, please call 9-1-1 and be prepared to shelter in your vehicle as first responders may have longer than usual travel times to your location.”  

For more winter travel information, we have comprehensive resources at: codot.gov/travel/winter-driving 

View today’s press conference

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