The incoming storm system for the end of this week continues to be the big story for Western Colorado. By Saturday morning the Colorado snowpack and the rain deficits in the lower elevations should have significant improvements.

Rain showers, near average afternoon temperatures and a breezy afternoon/evening should be the order of business for Grand Junction, Delta and Montrose most of Thursday. As a cold front approaches late Thursday, expect more wind and a changeover from rain to snow overnight. The area mountains have been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning (there is also an Avalanche Watch in place) and snow will be falling in the higher elevations from Thursday morning through Friday morning. There is an enhanced period of heavy snowfall expected from Thursday evening through Friday morning. This is a big window/timeframe that should support deeper snow totals in the mountain zones. Under the winter storm warning for the mountain zones, 1-2 feet of snow is expected with a few isolated areas approaching the 3 foot mark. Any area above 7000 feet will likely experience at least a foot of new snow and all of these sites will be dealing with strong wind gusts/blowing snow. If you have to travel through these mountain corridors please be prepared for accidents and closures. Make sure your vehicle has the traction required, you have sufficient clothing and supplies in case of lengthy delays.

Areas above 5000 feet will also be experiencing snow “to the valley floors”. Thursday will be the rain day and Friday should be the cold day with snow in the early morning hours. There is a wide spread of snow potential for Grand Junction and Montrose. Just 48 hours away for the departure of this storm (Friday afternoon) the snow amounts on the low end appear as a trace (GJ) and on the high end of 5″ (MT). Regardless of the totals which are subject to change in the next 24 hours, this should not be light fluffy snow that you can use a broom to clear the sidewalks. There should be some weight/water content so be careful with snow removal practices.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be colder. The low temperatures should achieve the coldest of the fall season! Afternoon highs will be cooler than the averages with many valley locations stuck in the 30s. The weekend will be drier and clearer with a slow temperature recovery into the beginning of next week. Just in time for another potential round of storms!