Storms expected to dump more snow on Vail Valley
Ryan Summerlin January 29, 2013
VAIL, Colorado – Storms rolling through the Rockies are expected to dump up to 20 inches of snow this week, says the National Weather Service.
There’s a winter storm warning in effect through 6 p.m. Thursday, for the northwest mountains and areas around the Flattops. That’s us.
After going so long without much precipitation, locals were pretty excited to wake up to some white stuff Tuesday morning.
So we asked Paul Frisbie, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, “Are we going to get a little more snow?”
“You’re going to get more than a little more,” Frisbie said.
When we caught up with Frisbie, Vail was having Chamber of Commerce weather Tuesday afternoon – brilliant blue skies and everything was covered in a blanket of new snow.
“Things are relatively quiet right now, but that will change in the afternoon,” Frisbie said Tuesday morning.
More moisture will roll in Wednesday, along with strong, gusty winds he said.
The storms rolling through the northern Rockies should be steady, and are expected to dump 10-20 inches of new snow on the mountain slopes, Frisbie said.
There might be a lull this morning, but then snow is expected to start again, Frisbie said.
The forecast calls for wind chill to drop as low as -25 as the winds pick up. There’s a 90 percent chance of snow Wednesday and Thursday, before skies begin to clear and the storm systems roll out Thursday afternoon.
Vail vs. Aspen
Vail is reporting 13 inches of new snow over the past seven days. Aspen reported 7 inches Tuesday.
This week anyway, God loves Vail more than Aspen. Here’s why.
“This type of storm is more favorable for the Gore Range than the Elk Range,” Frisbie said Tuesday. “The Elks will get snow today and tonight. The threat (and promise) of snow diminishes after that.”
It’s all about orientation.
Certain mountain ranges do better in certain weather flows. This northwest storm system favors Vail, Frisbie said. A southwest storm, not so much.
“A warm moist storm that comes up from the southwest will pass over the Grand Mesa and the Elks,” Frisbie said.
A series of northwest storms favors Vail.
“These northwest jets tend to follow the terrain of the Rocky Mountains. They tend to follow the Continental Divide,” Frisbie explained. “The Elk Mountains are further away from that, so they get less snow.”
It’s still a matter of perspective, Frisbie said.
“In these flow patterns, Vail gets better than Aspen, and Steamboat Springs argues they do better than anyone else,” Frisbie said.
Ice and snow, take it slow, CDOT says
While it’s fun for most of us, it’s serious business for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Maintenance crews are working 12-hour shifts in this part of the state: Avon, Craig, Dotsero, Granby, Grand Lake, Eagle, Edwards, Kremmling, Leadville, Meeker, Steamboat Springs and Winter Park.
Crews are working 24 hours a day, midnight to noon, and noon to midnight, until the storms pass, said Ashley Mohr, CDOT spokesperson for this region.
Travelers should be ready for winter driving conditions. Higher elevations like Vail Pass will be hit the hardest, Mohr said.
Mohr advised motorists to slow down when road conditions get bad.
Motorists can call 511 or visit www.cotrip.org for road conditions, Mohr said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.