Stormy weather conditions on the Western Slope

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 8:41 PM MDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 8:55 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - This is the first big winter storm of the season we’ve experienced here in Western Colorado, and with that, bringing wet & icy road conditions in higher elevations. This weather we’ve been experiencing over the last few days has some people wondering if this is here to stay for the winter. CDOT said this morning the system moved in last night and should be cleared out by tomorrow morning.

In all high elevations throughout the western part of the state above 8000 feet, road conditions are expected to have several inches of snow, ice, and accompanied by strong gusts of winds. In lower elevations, motorists are expected to experience high winds, rain, ice, and wet slick surfaces.

“We’re seeing rain in the valleys but if you head up into the mountains we’re talking snow,” said Meteorologist Brad Miller.

“So we’re talking about Ouray, Telluride, Silverton, as well as those mountain passes that get you to those communities because those elevations over the mountain passes typically get to about 10,000 feet,” said CDOT Southwest Regional Communications Manager Lisa Schwantes.

“Right now we’re keeping most of it up above 8000 feet earlier this morning but snow level’s starting to drop & come down as low as 6,000 feet by this evening tonight,” said Miller.

With this, all commercial vehicles traveling on Interstate 70 between the Dotsero and Morrison EXITs must now carry chains to be in compliance with the Colorado traction law.

“Make sure you have the proper equipment, enough chains, a heavy coat, boots, gloves, extra food, extra blankets, extra water,” said truck driver Brenda Cullinan. “You’ve just gotta be prepared. I grew up in Colorado so I’m prepared for Vail & Eisenhower. I’m headed to Denver.”

CDOT said although this system will be cleared out by the morning, we should be prepared for another system to move in on Thursday. But experts say that second one will only linger around for 24 hours or so, clearing out by the weekend.

CDOT still encourages travelers to know before you go, and check conditions either on the website or on the new app to know how to prepare for their trip.

Just last week, CDOT launched a new CO-TRIP free mobile app and website designed to help travelers check road conditions on the go. The app is equipped with information on road conditions as well as cameras of roadways which update every couple minutes.

“At the click of a finger, finding out what construction is like, and what road conditions are like,” said Schwantes. “Taking a look at cameras all across the state to see if you’re comfortable with what the conditions look like.”

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