DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to be prepared for the first major winter storm of the season, coming up this weekend.

Department forecasters are predicting snow totals as high as 17 inches for Colorado’s Central Mountains. Blowing snow and visibility will be a concern.

“This weekend, I’m going up to Tabernash, pick up my girlfriend, then we’re going to DIA (Denver International Airport) and fly into Puerto Vallarta,” said Brandon Thorpe, filling up at an Idaho Springs gas station.

If you are traveling up to the high country, CDOT is highlighting the need for snow tires or traction devices — words of advice that will be needed well into the spring.

“We had a decent fall,” Thorpe said. “But I feel like it still came in real quick.”

Colorado prepares for snowstorm

CDOT said 95 snow plows will be ready to respond to the storm in the Denver metro area and another 30 plows along the Interstate 70 mountain corridor to the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel.

Colorado Highway 82 (Independence Pass) will close at noon on Friday and will stay closed until the weather is better and the road is cleared of snow and ice.