Parts of the San Juan Mountains received 3 feet of snow from the overnight storm that hit Southwest Colorado early Monday, but Durango reported only a half inch of snow as of 7 a.m. – outpaced by Cortez where 1.3 inches had fallen overnight.
Mountain passes in Southwest Colorado were reported snowpacked, but no chain requirements or traction restrictions were in place as of 10 a.m. in the San Juan Mountains.
Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes said some traction restrictions were in place as late as 8 a.m., but they were dropped.
“Restrictions are based on crews out in the field, boots on the ground. They’ll advise us when they are needed, and things can change quickly if we get a particularly strong wave from the storm. The best thing for travelers is to visit COtrip to stay current on conditions,” she said.
Travelers should stay at least three car lengths behind snowplows, and they should adjust to conditions, slowing down and giving their vehicles longer distances to slow down.
Schwantes said no crashes causing blockages of state highways had been reported as of 9 a.m. Monday.
CDOT had snowplow crews on 12-hour snow shifts, and crews expect snow to fall through Monday afternoon.
Colorado State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll said a few minor crashes with cars sliding off the road had been reported as of 9:30 p.m., but no serious accidents.
“We want to remind people to take it easy,” he said. “Start your commute earlier and slow down.”
Durango Police Department Sgt. David Longonette said no crashes had been reported in the city as of 8:40 a.m.
Megan Stackhouse, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said snow can be expected through Monday afternoon with flurries continuing after dark, but the bulk of the snowfall has occurred.
“We have reports of 3 feet of snow in some parts of the San Juan Mountains. Lower elevations of Southwest Colorado, the river basins, received 1 to 3 inches, and you might see another half inch accumulation at lower elevations,” she said.
A winter storm waning is in effect through 11 p.m. Monday with 4 to 8 inches of additional snow expected in the San Juan Mountains, favoring the southern San Juans above 9,500 feet.
A hazardous weather outlook is in effect for lower elevations of Southwest Colorado calling for the possibility of snow flurries through Tuesday followed by cold temperatures the remainder of the week.
Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 12 inches of snow in the past 24 hours and 27 inches in the past 48 hours as of 10 a.m. Monday.
Few snowfall totals had been reported to the weather service as of Monday morning. Some measurements included: Durango, half an inch; Pagosa Springs 1.4 inches and Cortez 1.3 inches.
Red Mountain Pass had 10 inches as of 8:30 a.m. Monday.
Cortez weather watcher Jim Andrus said Cortez has received only 5.78 inches of precipitation year to date compared with an average of 11.69 inches through the end of November.
“There’s going to be cold air behind the storm” Stackhouse said.
The low in Durango is expected to dip to 10 degrees Monday night and 9 degrees Tuesday night.