Rain in the valley and snow in the mountains mean a slippery and slow trip on Thursday

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (KKCO) – A winter weather advisory is in effect from midnight tonight until 6:00 a.m. Friday above 8,000 feet for the Grand Mesa, Colorado National Monument, Flat Tops, Bookcliffs, Uncompahgre Plateau, Northern San Juan Mountains, Battlement Mesa, Elk Mountains, Gore Mountains, Sawatch Mountains, and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. A snowfall accumulation of 6 to 12 inches is likely in these areas. Snow will be blown by winds blowing at 40-55 mph, limiting visibility and making travel conditions difficult. This includes Mesa, Glade Park, Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, Telluride, Ouray, and Minturn.

A winter storm warning is in effect for southern San Juan above 8,000 feet from 6:00 p.m. tonight until midnight Thursday night. This is where the heaviest snowfall is likely. A snowfall accumulation of 12 to 20 feet is expected. Winds will blow at 45-60 mph, dramatically reducing visibility and making conditions hazardous for travel. This includes areas around Silverton.

Time the rain and snow

Rain in the valley and snow in the mountains will begin to increase tonight after 9 p.m. A few occasional showers are possible earlier. Rain and snow will fall throughout Thursday, but occasional breaks are possible. Thursday morning and evening journeys are likely to be slippery and slow at times. Rain in the valley will likely turn to snow between 6 and 9 p.m.

How much snow?

A snowfall accumulation of 1 to 3 inches is likely along Highway 50 from Grand Junction to Delta to Montrose. Some local variations above or below this range are possible. Some snow may melt, but we’re more likely to have some buildup with this storm system than we’ve seen with the last two storm systems that brought us snow. Still, it’s possible that even if 1-3 inches of snow falls, not all will be on the ground Friday morning. Nearby higher elevations, including the Grand Mesa, Colorado National Monument, Bookcliffs, Uncompahgre Plateau, and northern San Juan, can receive up to 6 to 12 inches of snow accumulation.

When does it end?

The snow will cease from west to east between 6 a.m. and noon Friday. Clouds will be harder to break through, and a strong push of colder air will keep temperatures in the high 30s Friday afternoon, then drop us into the teens and low 20s Saturday morning. Clouds will remain tight for most of Saturday, likely not breaking up until late Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening at the earliest.

Preview of our next 24 hours

This evening will be rather cloudy and windy. Sunset is at 6:13 p.m. We will cool slowly to the mid 50’s until 9pm. The rest of the night will be cloudy with rain becoming likely along Highway 50 and snow increasing over the mountains. Low temperatures will be 47 degrees around Grand Junction, 45 degrees around Montrose, 47 in Delta and 45 in Cortez. These low temperatures will also be the hottest of the day on Thursday, and the day will gradually become colder. Thursday will be cloudy and cold with likely rain in the valley and snow in the mountains. High temperatures will occur before sunrise and the day will cool into the 40s and 30s in the afternoon. Rain in the valley will likely turn to snow after dark.

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