The National Weather Service forecast a chance of rain and snow before 8 p.m. Tuesday night, with a slight chance of snow between 8 p.m. and midnight and temperatures falling to about 20 degrees.
For Wednesday, the weather service predicted mostly sunny skies, with a high near 37 and north winds around 5 mph.
Tuesday was a snowy day in the Four Corners.
The towns of Dove Creek, Dolores, Cortez and Mancos experienced the heaviest snowfall in the morning, and saw high temperatures of about 35 degrees.
The NWS predicted up to a foot of snow in the mountains, particularly in Durango East and Pagosa Springs.
Assistant superintendent of Montezuma County Schools Lori Haukeness confirmed that all schools in the county were open Tuesday, but students in the Pleasant View and Lewis-Arriola attendance areas were excused from class. Two buses assigned to pick up students in that area got stuck this morning, she said.
According to an email from M-CHS, an announcement early Tuesday morning mistakenly stated that classes at Montezuma-Cortez were canceled. A follow-up announcement stated that school was in session, but students who could not make it in or were given false information will be excused.
The email from Debra Ramsey said high school principal Jason Wayman “misread a message he received from our administration office and thought our school had been told to close for today due to snow.”
Mancos Schools and Dolores Schools said schools were open and in-session this morning, but the Dolores basketball game against Ignacio scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled. Montezuma-Cortez High School’s boys and girls basketball games against Pagosa Springs were rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 14.
The Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio school districts announced Tuesday morning that all schools were closed because of dangerous road and sidewalk conditions.
Fort Lewis College in Durango also announced classes were canceled. Classes for Southwest Colorado Community College in Mancos don’t begin until Jan. 19.
Colorado Department of Transportation Region 5 office reported that plows would remain out in round the clock shifts in the region, but cautions that they cannot be everywhere at once.
“In the morning when snowplows are keeping up with the storm, the sun rises and it creates inversion and the temperatures drop- road and bridges can get icy during the work commute hours,” said Region 5 communications manager Nancy Shanks in a statement this morning.
Road conditions on U.S. Highway 160 from Cortez to Durango were reported to be icy and snowpacked, according to CDOT.
U.S. Highway 491 from Cortez to Pleasant View and Dove Creek was also reported to be icy and snowpacked.
Sgt. James Saunders of the Colorado State Patrol said officers have so far had a very busy day.
State Patrol has responded to more than a dozen vehicle slide-offs and five crashes. Two crashes were north of Cortez on Highway 491, two were east of Cortez near the overpass to Mesa Verde on Highway 160, and one on Highway 145 north of Dolores.
“We’ve been busy, but fortunately nothing has been serious injury,” said Saudners. “We had two injuries from one crash and the rest no injuries were reported.”
The crashes were the result of excessive speed and icy roads. As with any winter weather event, the State Patrol cautions drivers to slow down leave plenty of distance between cars.
If drivers do find themselves stuck on the side of the road after a slide-off and leave the car running for warmth, be sure to check that the tailpipe isn’t packed in snow, Saunders said.