Eagle County could see snow, wind chill as cold as -40 from a fast-moving winter storm
Valley could see as much as 8 inches of snow, but travel will be tough
Big winter storms are par for the course in the mountains. But an incoming storm could create dangerous cold and hamper travel.
According to the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service, a storm is headed to Colorado packing both snow and strong winds of up to 65 mph in higher elevations. That combination could create dangerous outdoor conditions and make travel difficult to impossible.
The storm is expected to arrive in full force Wednesday afternoon.
Weather Service forecaster Dan Cuevas said the arctic cold behind the storm will create “dangerously cold” wind chills. Those wind chill temperatures could reach minus 40 degrees. That kind of cold will bring frostbite to exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.
If you do have to go outside as the wind is howling, make sure you’ve covered as much of your body as possible. Dress in layers, including a hat, mittens, scarves and boots.
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Cuevas said higher elevations could see as much as 8 inches of new snow. That’s good news for local resorts, but strong winds will complicate the ability to get on the hill, or even the ability to get into or out of the valley. Driven by high winds, the snow could make travel impossible at times.
“It would be terrible to be out in that,” Cuevas said.
The good news is that the most dangerous part of the front is expected to blow through the mountains by about noon Friday, with lingering snow showers through the weekend.
The storm comes as local businesses are geared up for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek General Manager Herb Rackliff said that the hotel has a strict cancellation policy this time of year. But, he added, with weather delays “we don’t penalize the guest.”
Guests who find themselves stuck in the valley for a night or two can extend, of course. “They’re not staying for free, but we’ll work with them,” Rackliff said.
The story is similar at the Vail Racquet Club in East Vail. Racquet Club General Manager Kim Newbury Rediker said guests stuck in the valley can extend their stays at their current rates.
For those who can’t get to the valley for a day or two, Newbury Rediker said the lodge will work with guests.
“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures,” she said.
And these could be an extraordinary couple of days.
According to a story in the Colorado Sun, if your home is prone to freezing, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to expose pipes and turn faucets to a slow drip.
Make sure your car’s fluids are topped off, including fuel and windshield washer fluid.
Subzero wind chills can also affect walking your dog. According to the story in the Sun, a dog’s ears, nose and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia.
While the worst of the storm and subzero temperatures should pass by early Friday the National Weather Service is forecasting a high that day of only 28 degrees.
The rest of Christmas weekend should be a bit warmer, with highs in the 30s. That’s going to seem pretty pleasant.