Storm predicted to bring snow to high country, Front Range through Friday | VailDaily.com

Storm predicted to bring snow to high country, Front Range through Friday

EAGLE COUNTY — You've taken the snow tires off of your car, haven't you? Because we're due for what could be a significant blast of snow now through Friday evening.

The Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service is predicting Vail could see 3 to 5 inches of fresh snow in the daytime hours today, with another 2 to 4 inches overnight.

The Friday forecast calls for still more snow.

Forecasters at http://www.opensnow.com believe the current storm could be a whopper, especially on the east side of the Continental Divide.

Record Breaking possibility

"It's possible that this storm could be record-breaking for elevations above 7,000 feet in the northern Front Range," meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote.

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The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued a Special Avalanche Advisory for the mountains roughly north of Interstate 70 and, mostly, east of the Continental Divide.

That organization is predicting snowfall of 1 to 3 inches per hour at times between today and Friday, with snow totals adding up to one to three feet on the Front Range.

Big May storms aren't unusual — especially those that hit hardest on the Front Range. While most ski areas are closed, plenty of local residents are still using the backcountry.

Avalanche Danger

With a big dollop of new snow, the avalanche danger is expected to increase through Friday night.

Fresh snow on top of older snowpack creates unstable conditions, especially on slopes of 30 degrees or steeper, or wind-facing slopes.

The warning from the information center states that both natural and human-triggered avalanches will be likely. Any slope with 8 inches or more of new or wind-drifted snow could be especially hazardous.

But it's spring, of course, when the weather is at its most changeable. The current Vail forecasts calls for cool temperatures, with only a slight chance of moisture, through the weekend.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

In the forecast

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center websitestates that some areas could see between 1 and 3 feet of snow by Friday evening, with the most snow falling in the Front Range mountains.