A winter weather advisory for the San Juan Mountains has been extended until Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The advisory includes the towns of Hesperus, Lake City, Ouray, Rico, Silverton and Telluride.
From 12 a.m. Friday to 12 p.m. Saturday, the NWS says the chance of winter weather continues, with up to 15 inches of new snow possible in that time.
Wind gusts may reach up to 45 mph, causing blowing snow and difficult travel conditions.
A winter storm that entered Southwest Coloraod on Wednesday night left heavy snowfall around the region.
As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Wolf Creek Ski area had reported 33 inches of new snow.
On Wolf Creek Pass on U.S. Highway 160 east, a chain law is in effect that requires chains or alternative-traction devices for all commercial vehicles, including buses. No oversize loads are allowed to cross the pass between Pagosa Springs and South Fork.
The Colorado Department of Transportation cautioned motorists to expect delays on the pass starting 6 a.m. Friday as crews perform avalanche work on Wolf Creek Pass. The work is expected to last most of the day.
On Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain passes, a chain and traction law is in effect, which requires commercial vehicles to have chains or alternative traction devices. This also applies to buses and vans.
Passenger vehicles are required to have snow or mud/tires, chains/alternative traction devices or four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles.
“We are not anticipating the need for any avalanche control work,” said Vance Kelso, Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor for the U.S. Highway 550 mountain corridor. “The mitigation efforts we performed over the last couple of weeks are providing us a nice margin of safety now.”
As of 7:45 a.m., the NWS says Coal Bank and Molas passes received around 10 inches of snow. A SNOTEL station near Vallecito Reservoir is reporting 2.5 inches of new snow.
As of 4:30 p.m., Purgatory Resort reported 5 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.
“This storm is dropping snow that is very light and fluffy – not a lot of water content,” Kelso said. “Our southern pass, Coal Bank, is getting hit the hardest, with 10 inches at the summit so far. Red Mountain has only received about 4 inches.”
In Durango, snow showers are likely to continue Thursday, mostly after 10 p.m. Less than a half inch of accumulation is possible.
The chance of snow continues in town on and off from Friday into Sunday, the NWS says.