The year's first winter storm: tools to navigate the roads

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The mild temperatures here in Western Colorado have carried on into early December, but it looks like we're less than a day away from actual winter weather.

Skiers and snowboarders of the area are no doubt thrilled for the news: winter's first real storm system is about to hit the area.

A cold front is expected to hit tomorrow morning, move across the northern part of the state, stall around the I-70 corridor, and bringing heavy snow with it.

"It makes it kind of interesting because the Grand Valley could be impacted by that," said Norv Larson of the Grand Junction National Weather Service. "Right now, the latest guide suggests the front could stall and stay north of the area through the afternoon on Tuesday, so we really don't expect the snow to begin until Wednesday night with the frontal passage."

The valley region is expected to receive around six inches, with potential for more, and as much as two feet in elevated areas, like up on the mesa.

"It's going to significantly impact traveling. I would suggest tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon through Wednesday evening, if you can avoid traveling through the mountains, it would be best."

That's where CDOT becomes a valuable resource for drivers, as they offer some useful tools to help the navigation.

"If you have the opportunity to get online and look at your route before you go, we have really up-to-date real-time information about how the roads are looking," said Tracy Trulove of CDOT.

To check ahead, you can either use their free mobile app which is especially helpful for highways, or take a look online before heading out.

Any way you get to where you're going, it's time to get back into winter-driving mode.

"Just to take it a little bit slower, to give yourself a little bit more time to get where you need to go and to put some space between you and the car in front of you," said Trulove. "Our maintenance crews are working really hard to get the roads to dry, driveable conditions. But if the storm is coming in as large as it is, it's going to take us some time to do that."

That website for travel is CDOT also strongly recommends you get those snow tires on your vehicle now rather than later.