San Juan Mountain Autumn

San Juan Mountains near Durango Colorado in Autumn. Photo Credit: pabradyphoto (iStock).

Winter may still be months away, but Colorado's recent weather is making it seem much closer.

Extremely cold temperatures, heavy snow, freezing rain, and ice brought an early taste of winter to parts of the mountainous state from Tuesday evening into Wednesday, dropping more than a foot of fresh powder

Adding to the snow totals, the flakes are set to keep falling in the high country through Thursday afternoon, with snowfall expected to taper off along the Front Range in the early afternoon hours of Wednesday. 

Here's how much snow to expect:

The San Juan Mountains could see another 6 to 12 inches of snow above 8,000 feet by Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

South Park, the Southern Front Range Foothills, the Northern Front Range Foothills, the mountains of Summit County, the Mosquito Range, and the Indian Peaks and Palmer Divide including Castle Rock, Elbert, and Larkspur could receive additional snow accumulations of up to 3 inches by Wednesday afternoon.

High country flakes continuing through midnight tonight could bring another 3 to 6 inches to the Sangre de Cristo Range and Wet Mountains, as well as Central Fremont county.

Another 2 inches of snow is expected for the San Luis Valley, Huerfano, and western Las Animas Counties including Walsenburg and Trinidad, Chaffee, Lake, Northern Fremont, Teller, and northern El Paso counties.

Additional snow accumulations of 2 to 5 inches can also be expected in the La Garita Mountains.

Freezing drizzle will also be added to the mix, with pockets of snow, sleet, and freezing rain possible over the I-25 corridor and far eastern plains. 

Here's a look at the latest winter storm warnings, winter weather advisories, and freeze warnings.

Winter Storm Warnings

La Garita Mountains, San Luis Valley, Teller, and Northern El Paso County through 12:00 p.m. Wednesday

Sange de Cristo and Wet Mountains, Wet Mountain Valley through 12:00 a.m. on Thursday

Eastern San Juan Mountains through 12:00 p.m. on Thursday

Winter Weather Advisories

Southern I-25 Corridor through 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday

Freeze Warnings

San Luis Valley and I-25 Corridor through 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday

Temperatures are expected to fall near or below freezing over the San Luis Valley and the I-25 corridor on Thursday morning.

While it's a little unusual to get snow this early in the season, it is not unprecedented. 

According to a series of tweets from the NWS, the early season storm brought heavy snow to several parts of the state, including Berthoud Pass.

Here are five spots where the most snow has fallen in the past 24 hours.

1. Westcliffe – 14 inches

2. Alamosa – 14 inches

3. San Isabel – 12.3 inches

4. Maysville – 11.9 inches

5. Leadville - 10.8 inches

Click here to see totals for the entire state.

The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) blamed the early "Pumpkin Spice" season for the September snowfall while issuing a reminder to prepare for safe winter driving.

CDOT also warned drivers to "be prepared for variable road conditions, especially in Colorado's mountainous high country." Several chain and traction laws are currently in place.

In other news around the state, the cold blast of temperatures and heavy snow is helping to slow the 102,586-acre Cameron Peak Fire. See an update on that here.

Editor's Note: All weather statements are subject to change. Snow-packed roads and icy conditions are expected across the high country. Remember to take it slow and drive safe!

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.


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