Wednesday Morning Model Update

1/18/23 Wednesday 8 am

While the northern portions of the forecast area will continue to get several inches of snow today, I don’t see anything in the models that would lead me to believe that snow will redevelop south of Purgatory. Wolf Creek is a whole different topic, it will continue to snow through the morning hours at least.

That being said humidity is still pretty high and with the right amount of sunshine we could see the atmosphere destabilize and trigger a few snow showers.

Surface maps always lag a few hours, and there can be errors on them, it will probably be 9:30 or 10 am before the 8 am surface map is available. What I will be looking at then is the location of the shortwave trough that was still to our west as of 5 am.

Until that updates, it’s time to start moving snow, again.

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Wednesday Early Update

1/18/23 Wednesday 6:30 am

Hold off on your snow reports for now, I don’t yet have a handle on how much longer this is going to go on, but it is still snowing in most areas. It looks like it is really dumping at Telluride, finally! The morning high-resolution models may or may not give me good guidance.

I have a full plate today. I already know that between cleaning up from the overnight/morning leftovers, my appointments, and errands this afternoon, that I am not going to be done compiling storm totals today, hopefully, tomorrow I will get them out.

You will probably be safe reporting this afternoon (with the exception of the northern portions of the forecast area). If possible please include location, first storm total, second storm total, grand total. 

I will post again after I see the updated morning model runs, which should be out at or around 8 am. If I get a travel update before then I will post it immediately.

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No Rest For The Weary–All 5 Passes Will Be Closed

1/17/23  Tuesday 7:30 pm

As I said earlier, I am not a fan of trying to forecast leftovers, I leave that up to the experts, as models are notoriously horrible at handling them.  I would not be surprised if snow picks up before midnight and is on and off through the night.

Equally, I would not be surprised if nothing develops.  In any event, it looks like all passes will be closed.

Here is a summary of the major road conditions:

❗️Closure Alert for Wednesday❗️
Expect closures on several mountain passes tomorrow morning, Wed., Jan. 18 while crews perform winter maintenance operations.  Do not attempt to bypass closed gates.
• US 160 Wolf Creek Pass, closure begins at 6 a.m. Westbound traffic will be stopped near the pass summit, west of the ski area (MP 169). Eastbound traffic will be stopped at Treasure Falls (MP 160).
• CO 145 Lizard Head Pass, closure begins at 8 a.m. Northbound traffic will be stopped just north of Rico (MP 49). Southbound traffic will be stopped near Trout Lake (MP 61).
• US 550 Coal Bank, Molas & Red Mt. Passes are currently closed. This closure began earlier on Tues. due to adverse weather and high avalanche danger. Crews plan to begin maintenance at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Northbound traffic is being stopped near Cascade Creek (MP 52). Southbound traffic is being stopped at Ouray (MP 92).
The exact times of opening these highways is not known and the closures may last for much of the morning or even throughout the day. Regional travelers should plan ahead, allow for extra travel time, or arrive and drive through the gates before the designated closure times. Visit www.COtrip.org for the latest information on road closures and conditions.

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Here Come The Leftovers!

1/17/23 Tuesday 3:30 pm

In my 11 am update, I mentioned that the leftovers could impact us. That certainly looks like it will be the case. Sorry, it has been a rough few days for those of us trying to remove the snow.

At my house, I am definitely going to exceed the total from storm#1, I may have already. We had an intense band of snow move through around 1:30 or so. It was snowing harder than at any given time during both storms. So keep tallying your totals and I will let you know when I think it is done, which will likely be sometime tomorrow.

Leftovers are very difficult to forecast, so I try to avoid it. However, The NWS has extended all of the Winter Storm Warnings and added additional amounts. These were just issued a little before 3 pm. And it should give you a rough idea what to expect. The good news is that with the colder air, the snow should be easier to shovel.

Here are the latest Warnings (2:54 pm)

COZ022-023-180600-  
/O.EXT.KGJT.WS.W.0002.000000T0000Z-230118T0600Z/  
ANIMAS RIVER BASIN-SAN JUAN RIVER BASIN-  
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF DURANGO, BAYFIELD, IGNACIO,   
AND PAGOSA SPRINGS  
254 PM MST TUE JAN 17 2023  
  
...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM MST THIS  
EVENING...  
  
* WHAT...HEAVY SNOW. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4  
  INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS.  
  
* WHERE...ANIMAS RIVER BASIN AND SAN JUAN RIVER BASIN.  
  
* WHEN...UNTIL 11 PM MST THIS EVENING.  
  
* IMPACTS...PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS   
  CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE EVENING COMMUTE.

COZ019-180600-  
/O.CON.KGJT.WS.W.0002.000000T0000Z-230118T1800Z/  
SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-  
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF SILVERTON, RICO, AND HESPERUS  
254 PM MST TUE JAN 17 2023  
  
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM MST  
WEDNESDAY...  
  
* WHAT...HEAVY SNOW. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 10  
  INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 35  
  MPH.  
  
* WHERE...SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.  
  
* WHEN...UNTIL 11 AM MST WEDNESDAY.  
  
* IMPACTS...PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. PATCHY BLOWING   
  SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY. THE COLD WIND   
  CHILLS AS LOW AS 20 BELOW ZERO COULD CAUSE FROSTBITE ON   
  EXPOSED SKIN IN AS LITTLE AS 30 MINUTES.
  
COZ003-013-018-UTZ025-180600-  
/O.CON.KGJT.WW.Y.0004.000000T0000Z-230118T1800Z/  
ROAN AND TAVAPUTS PLATEAUS-FLAT TOPS-NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-  
TAVAPUTS PLATEAU-  
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF RIO BLANCO, BUFORD, TRAPPERS LAKE,   
TELLURIDE, OURAY, AND LAKE CITY  
254 PM MST TUE JAN 17 2023  
  
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM MST  
WEDNESDAY...  
  
* WHAT...SNOW. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES WITH  
  LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 35 MPH.  
  
* WHERE...IN COLORADO, ROAN AND TAVAPUTS PLATEAUS, FLAT TOPS AND   
  NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS. IN UTAH, TAVAPUTS PLATEAU.  
  
* WHEN...UNTIL 11 AM MST WEDNESDAY.  
  
* IMPACTS...PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. PATCHY BLOWING   
  SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY, ESPECIALLY ON   
  RIDGE TOPS AND MOUNTAIN PASSES.

COZ021-180600-  
/O.EXT.KGJT.WS.W.0002.000000T0000Z-230118T0600Z/  
FOUR CORNERS/UPPER DOLORES RIVER-  
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF CORTEZ, DOVE CREEK, AND MANCOS  
254 PM MST TUE JAN 17 2023  
  
...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM MST THIS  
EVENING ABOVE 6000 FEET...  
  
* WHAT...HEAVY SNOW ABOVE 6000 FEET. ADDITIONAL SNOW   
  ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES.  
  
* WHERE...FOUR CORNERS/UPPER DOLORES RIVER.  
  
* WHEN...UNTIL 11 PM MST THIS EVENING.  
  
* IMPACTS...PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. PATCHY BLOWING   
  SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY, ESPECIALLY IN OPEN   
  AREAS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE EVENING   
  COMMUTE. 

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE  
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO  
300 PM MST TUE JAN 17 2023  
  
COZ068-180600-  
/O.CON.KPUB.WS.W.0002.000000T0000Z-230118T0900Z/  
EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET-  
300 PM MST TUE JAN 17 2023  
  
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 AM MST  
WEDNESDAY...  
  
* WHAT...HEAVY SNOW. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 20   
  INCHES. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 40 MPH.  
  
* WHERE...EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET.  
  
* WHEN...UNTIL 2 AM MST WEDNESDAY.  
  
* IMPACTS...TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE. AREAS   
  OF BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY. THE   
  HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING OR EVENING   
  COMMUTE.  
  
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...  
  
IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD, AND WATER IN  
YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.   

HMMM…. 5 to 20, nice narrow range!

Unless I get an urgent road closure notice I am done until tomorrow morning. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Red Mountain Closed

1/17/23 Tuesday 1:20 pm

Although the surface front is moving across the area, it does not necessarily mean we are done with snow. Those shortwaves I pointed out earlier are still west of us, and could visit us later today/this evening/overnight as leftovers…I will dive into that later. Time to go back outside and continue to dig out–stupid roof…

All three 550 Passes are now CLOSED! So we have a hat trick. No scheduled time for reopening, but I would not hold my breath!

My next update will be later today. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Frontal Passage & More Detailed Closure Information

1/17/23 Tuesday 12:30 pm

Based on the increased winds, cooler temperatures, and enhanced snowfall rates it appears the front is approaching and/or crossing western portions of the forecast area.

― Southwest Colorado Winter Travel Alert ―

CDOT implements safety closure for US 550 Coal Bank & Molas passes

Closure planned for tomorrow morning for US 160 Wolf Creek Pass

US 550 north of Durango 
US 550 Coal Bank and Molas passes between Purgatory and Silverton have been closed to ensure safety for motorists. The safety closure was implemented at 11 a.m. today due to adverse weather and high avalanche danger. It is not known when the corridor will reopen. Northbound travelers will encounter a closed gate just north of Purgatory, near Cascade Creek (MP 52). Southbound travelers will encounter a closed gate at Silverton (MP 70). Do not attempt to bypass the closed gates.

US 160 Wolf Creek Pass east of Pagosa Springs 
US 160 Wolf Creek Pass will close tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. so that crews can perform winter maintenance operations. Westbound traffic will be stopped just west of the ski area at the pass summit(MP 167) and eastbound traffic will be stopped near Treasure Falls (MP 157). Do not attempt to bypass the closed gates. Maintenance operations will last for much of the morning, the exact time of reopening the highway is not known.

With the prolonged storm system expected to remain in the area, travelers should be aware that additional maintenance work and safety closures may be implemented on many southwest Colorado highways over the next few days. Visit cotrip.org for the latest information on road closures and conditions.

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Coal Bank Closure

1/17/23 Tuesday 12 pm

Coal Bank is closed at Lime Creek north to Silverton. I have no other information, other than the fact that I regret what I said earlier about wishing the storm would intensify. Time to go trigger more avalanches off of my roof. It’s going to be a long afternoon…

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Tuesday Late Morning Update–What I am Watching…

1/17/23 Tuesday 11 am

According to the latest surface map, as well as satellite imagery, the system is still to our west. The storm has 4 shortwave troughs extending from the main system. I have numbered them 1-4.

Current surface map

There is a good chance 1&2 may impact us. #3 may or may not.

Here is the current satellite feed (10:40 am)

None of the morning models are going to properly initialize because there was some type of outage earlier this morning, check out the message I circled on the previous surface map.

Sometimes, not knowing is better. We will just have to see how things go. I am a little concerned with the temperatures. It would be nice for the system to become stationary right where it is.  Then maybe even strengthen a bit,  and then move through much later today when it is cooler… I doubt that is going to happen though, we will see. Either way, most areas have already received a bunch of snow.

I will check back in later, or as situations arise. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Clarification On Snow Measurements Storm #2

1/17/23 Tuesday 7:15 am

There seems to be a bit of confusion amidst the excitement of all of the snow. The totals I posted yesterday were for storm#1 ending yesterday morning. At that point, we started measuring storm #2. What I will be looking for is your totals from yesterday during the day, until the end of this second storm, which will likely continue through mid-morning Wednesday. If you want to send me running totals that is fine.

For example, I just got a report from Durango in town near the fairgrounds of 3 inches yesterday during the day, plus 6 inches overnight for a total, so far of 9 inches for storm #2. That is exactly what I am looking for. It also coincides with what I measured at my house at DW2:  4 inches during the day and 5 additional inches overnight (as of 6 am), for 9 inches total so far for storm#2. My forecast yesterday afternoon was for storm#2 totals, it appears the Durango area is off to a very good start!

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Wolf Creek Closed

1/17/23 Tuesday 6 am

Wolf Creek Pass is closed with no estimated time of reopening. This was not a planned closure, multiple minor slides onto the highway led to safety concerns. If I hear anything more I will post.

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