A storm dropped more than a foot of new snow in Southwest Colorado early Wednesday, raising the risk of avalanches to “high” and canceling school classes in Montezuma and Dolores counties.
The overnight storm raised the avalanche risk in the San Juan Mountains to Level 4 of five levels. Additional snowfall was expected on Thursday.
“Another foot of new snow overnight in the South San Juan zone is thickening dangerous slabs near the surface,” the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. “This new load fueled by strong winds is overloading the snowpack pushing problematic weak layers to their tipping point.”
Chain laws were in effect Wednesday on Lizard Head Pass on Colorado Highway 145 north of Dolores. Chain laws also were in effect on Wolf Creek, Red Mountain and Molas passes.
Because of snowy weather and dangerous road conditions, students at some local schools got a snow day on Wednesday.
All schools in the Dolores School District RE-4A and the Dolores County School District RE-2J were out for Wednesday, and Pleasant View Elementary School in the Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 was also closed.
Although Pleasant View was the only RE-1 school that got a snow day, secondary students living in the Pleasant View area were excused if they could not make it school, according to the district.
All Mancos School District RE-6 schools were in session.
Telluride Ski Resort and Hesperus Ski Area on Wednesday reported 5 inches of new snow.
Two to 6 inches of snow were expected later Wednesday at higher elevations of the San Juans, with another foot of snow on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures were expected to drop, falling to 10 degrees in Montezuma County on Wednesday night and to 5 degrees on Thursday night. Sunny skies and rising temperatures were forecast for Friday through Sunday, with highs climbing to the upper 30s and lows rising to about 20.