Southwest Colorado can expect a Martin Luther King Jr. Day storm to leave 1 to 3 inches in the Cortez area and up to 8 inches in the high country of the San Juan Mountains.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction said the forecast expects about an inch in the Cortez area on Monday and up to 2 inches Monday night.
At lower elevations, meteorologist Chris Cuoco said roads should be warm enough to prevent snow accumulations that hinder travel.
Snow, perhaps with a chance of rain, is expected to be heaviest during the afternoon, he said.
The storm could extend through the early hours of Tuesday, Cuoco said, with the chance of snow unlikely after sunrise Tuesday.
In the San Juan Mountains, 4 to 8 inches are expected to fall – with the highest elevations open to snowfalls as high as 10 inches, he said.
A winter weather advisory is in effect from noon Monday to 9 a.m. Tuesday for the San Juan Mountains including Silverton, Telluride, Ouray, Rico, Hesperus and Lake City. A winter weather advisory means periods of snow will cause travel difficulties. Travelers should expect snow-covered roads and limited visibilities, and they should use caution while driving.
The remainder of the week in Southwest Colorado is expected to be clear with the exception of a light dusting of snow that could occur Wednesday morning at the highest elevations of the San Juans, Cuoco said.
The next storm to impact Southwest Colorado isn’t expected until Jan. 28, he said.
According to Natural Resources Conservation Service Colorado SNOTEL as of Sunday the Animas, Dolores, San Juan and San Miguel river basins in Southwest Colorado contain 97 percent of their 30-year snowpack. The Upper Rio Grande Basin contains 86 percent of the 30-year snowpack.
All other river basins in Colorado are above the 30-year snowpack with the Arkansas River Basin leading the pack at 131 percent of the 30-year average.
Snowpack for the entire state of Colorado is at 106 percent of the 30-year average as of Sunday.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports a considerable risk for avalanches in both the southern and northern San Juan Mountains.