A "strong cold front" is expected to move into northern Colorado Saturday, bringing chances for heavy snowfall and snow squalls that could create dangerous driving conditions in many of the state's mountains, according to the National Weather Service.
The weather service in Boulder predicts snow squalls are likely to develop as the storm moves in. Meteorologists say the main threat is on Interstate 70, west of Denver, between 4 and 8 pm Saturday. Traffic delays are likely during adverse weather.
Snow squalls are possible with a cold front late this afternoon and evening. The main threat is on I-70 west of Denver from 4 to 8 pm, with heavy showers also possible south of Denver this evening. Keep an eye on the weather and be ready to delay travel for a few hours! #cowx pic.twitter.com/sXiNI7qEhK— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) February 20, 2021
Meteorologists say light snow Saturday morning will increase in intensity during the afternoon behind a strong cold front over the Park Range, the northern Gore Range, and Rabbit Ears Pass. A winter weather advisory warns that travel conditions across the U.S. 40 corridor through the Rabbit Ears Pass area is expected to "rapidly deteriorate" by late Saturday. Motorists can expect snow covered roads, slick driving conditions, and poor visibility. Up to 10 inches is forecast for the Rabbit Ears Pass area.
Check Colorado Department of Transportation's Travel Center for live traffic cameras and updated road conditions.
The winter weather advisory is also issued for Rocky Mountain National Park and the Medicine Bow Range from Saturday evening to early Sunday. Mountains in Summit County, the Mosquito Range, and the Indian Peaks are likely to see 4 to 8 inches of snow. The advisory starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and expires at 5 a.m. Sunday. Travel in these areas are likely to be very difficult during the advisory period as snow covered roads will make travel hazardous, meteorologists say.
Telluride, Ouray, Lake City, and other areas in the northwest San Juan mountains are forecast 5 to 10 inches of snow with wind gusts as high was 35 mph, the winter weather advisory said. Travel could be very difficult in these areas as well.
In the Gore and Elk mountains, central Colorado mountain valleys, Aspen, and Vail are also included in the weather advisory. Up to 8 inches of snow is forecast through early Sunday with winds gusting as high as 35 mph.
As new layers of snow add to previous accumulations, avalanche risks become high. Check with Colorado Avalanche Information Center for avalanche forecasts throughout the state before adventuring into the backcountry.