Wednesday Morning Storm And CDOT Update

2/23/22 Wednesday 8:30 am

Here is the latest from CDOT this morning


US 550 Coal Bank & Molas Passes – CLOSED 

SOUTHWEST COLORADO – Area maintenance supervisors have determined that US 550 Coal Bank and Molas Passes, south of Silverton, must be closed. Weather conditions (particularly blowing snow) have made public travel impossible, with zero visibility. The two passes received 8-12 inches of snow overnight. Patrol members say it is difficult to determine the new snow depth/measurements with the heavy blowing snow creating drifting. Patrols have also reported several slip banks (small snow slides) on the roadway. These are early indications of avalanche danger. Additionally, one moderate natural snow slide came down onto the highway at Lime Creek, just south of Molas summit.   

Crews will still perform avalanche mitigation on all three mountain passes along the corridor today. Operations will last through much of the day.

Red Mountain Pass also remains closed, since 6 p.m. last night.

In my conversation with them this morning I was told that Wolf Creek’s status will be determined as conditions warrant. I would not be surprised to see them close the pass throughout the day but there are no formal plans to do so. I was also told that there is a planned closure for Thursday morning and it is likely that closure will be longer than usual.

The other thing I would like to stress is that just because the pass is open it does not mean that it is safe to travel over it.

Storm Update

Snow has lightened up throughout most of the forecast area while we wait for the second storm to move in. In my case, I have been waiting impatiently. The surface maps are not in good agreement where the system is but it is still to our west.

Here is the NOAA (WPC) map

Here is the WU surface map showing the system a little further west than the WPC map

If you missed my overnight update at 3 am and you think the storm missed us, it hasn’t, it just stalled.

The NWS has not changed a thing in their forecasts. The morning high-resolution models still show plenty of snow on the way.

I am not in the habit of changing my forecasts so I will leave them as-is and let the chips fall where they may. As it stands, Purgatory, Telluride, and Rico have already reached my forecast minimums, so they will definitely exceed my forecast.

Here are a couple of recent high-resolution model liquid precipitation forecasts from now through the end of the storm.

NOAA WPC model

NAM 3km

The overnight Euro was showing higher totals than both of these models. We will see.

I will be updating throughout the day as conditions change. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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