Vail Valley in line for a little more snow Friday, Sunday
A few inches over the next few days will help the slopes, and help ease high fire danger
- Friday: Rain and snow showers, becoming all snow after 10 a.m. High near 44; low near 20.
- Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 48 and low around 22.
- Sunday: Snow showers, with a high near 33 and a low around 16.
- Monday: A chance of snow showers, with a high near 36.
Welcome to fall in Colorado, where a red flag warning one day is followed the next day by snow and rain.
The Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service on Thursday issued a red flag fire weather warning for much of the Western Slope, including Eagle County. Those warnings mean that a combination of wind, low humidity and dry fuels can quickly turn small fires into big, dangerous ones.
Megan Stackhouse, a meteorologist at the Grand Junction weather service office, said a strong trough of low pressure ahead of a cold front was bringing the winds that are a key part of red flag warnings.
Stackhouse said that cold front was expected to bring atmospheric moisture before precipitation. That will ease the fire danger across the Western Slope, athough fuels remain quite dry.
That cold front is predicted to bring rain and snow to the region. Stackhouse said higher elevations could see “a couple of inches” of snow on Vail Pass. But, she added, the roads remain warm enough that it’s unlikely any snow will accumulate.
Following a sunny Saturday, another system pushes into the region beginning Sunday morning.
Stackhouse said we can expect the bulk of precipitation — again, a few inches of snow in the high elevations — Sunday morning.
The systems pushing through the area will also bring cooler temperatures, of course. Overnight lows in Vail will be in the teens into Monday morning.
Stackhouse said a few showers will linger into Monday. After that, a ridge of high pressure — and dry weather — will set up in the region. There’s a chance of showers Oct. 24 and 25, followed by more dry weather.
The snow is welcome, of course, perhaps most of all for firefighters.
Tracy LeClair, the public information officer and community risk manager for the Avon-based Eagle River Fire Protection District, said snow last week was “very helpful,” particularly after wildfires in Edwards and Gypsum on Oct. 3 and 4, respectively.
LeClair said snow that came the following week helped ease the fire danger. But that relief was short-lived.
“It’s very helpful,” LeClair said. Snow will help keep temperatures down and humidity up, she added. It will also add some moisture to grasses that “grew prolifically” over the summer.
“A small spark on the road or a blowout from an unattended campfire won’t get taken by the wind,” LeClair said.
But, she added, this time of year it only takes a couple of days to bring the fire danger back to pre-storm levels.
At the moment, fire danger in the area is listed as “very high,” and unincorporated Eagle remains under Stage 1 fire restrictions until further notice.
“The ski areas want the snow, but so do we,” LeClair said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2930.
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