Power outages and hazardous travel conditions are possible as gusts capable of reaching hurricane-force wind speeds return to parts of Colorado.

The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning for the Sangre De Cristo and Wet Mountains, Huerfano, and western Las Animas counties, in effect until 6:00 PM Thursday. Southwest winds between 25 to 35 mph will be possible, with gusts up to 75 mph across the highest elevations, and 65 mph for lower elevations.

Based on the Saffir-Simpson scale, wind speeds of 74 to 95 miles per hour would categorize a hurricane as a “category 1.” A “category 5” hurricane has wind speeds above 157 miles per hour.

“People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive,” warned the National Weather Service.

Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile or lightweight vehicles along I-25 from south of Colorado City to the New Mexico state line. Areas of blowing snow could also significantly reduce visibility, mainly in the high country.

Red Flag Warning

As winds kick, wildfire danger remains high across some parts of the state. Red Flag Warnings for Thursday will remain in effect until 8:00 PM for multiple zones including, the Palmer Divide area, San Luis Valley, and Eastern Plains, due to gusty winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels.

RELATED: Grass fire sparks near state park in Colorado Springs

Snow Chances

The next chance for snow arrives Friday. According to Joel Gratz of OpenSnow, most mountains will see accumulations of 3 to 6 inches of snow. Flakes may continue to coat over the northern mountains Saturday, with the next snow of 1 to 6 inches on tap from Sunday afternoon through Monday night. To see a full breakdown of the forecast, click here.

Avoid Unnecessary Travel

As COVID-19 continues to grow, Colorado’s 5.7 million residents have been ordered to stay home and limit travel to only obtaining essential needs such as getting medications or groceries. Gov. Jared Polis issued the statewide “stay at home” order on Wednesday, which took effect at 6:00 AM Thursday and will continue to last until April 11.

Editor’s Note: All weather statements are subject to change. Please check the official Colorado Department of Transportation website for up-to-date information on road conditions and the National Weather Service for updates on incoming storms.

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