The most important message to convey is about safety while driving through any elevation this upcoming weekend.
Road conditions are already deteriorating across the Western Slope with reports of slick/icy conditions and temporary closures in the mountain passes/zones. There will be rain showers in the lower elevations through Friday afternoon (already a quick snow flurry reported across the tri-county area Thursday December 23, 2021 at 3 pm). There is also the possibility of a new rainfall record for Grand Junction on Christmas Eve! The rain record currently stands at .27″ from 12-24-1962. There is an abundance of available moisture with this first storm system (now through Saturday morning), the problem will be the mild temperature forecast initially.
Temperatures for the next 36 hours should remain above freezing. Early Saturday morning however, in the post frontal environment, there will be colder air and an increased risk for icy conditions “down low” along with a quick chance of a snow flurry. That cold push will be courtesy of the first cold front moving across the region late Friday/early Saturday. Gusty mountain wind speeds and breezy to windy valley wind speeds are expected right though Saturday morning. Rain will be the forecast for the lower elevations through midnight Friday and there is a brief predawn rain/snow mix, with a sunrise snow chance is the same forecast. The mountain zones will have already achieved maximum snow totals by lunch Saturday when the Winter Storm Warning expires. Two feet of new snow in those warned mountains looks realistic with a few deeper spots. The advised plateaus of Colorado look to hit the 1 foot mark of new snow, but a range from 6- 16″ will exist. There will be a lull Saturday afternoon before the next storm system arrives Saturday night and Sunday with colder temperatures, wind and better snow values for the lower elevations. New winter warnings and advisories are likely.