A winter storm warning is in effect for parts of Montezuma and Dolores counties until 6 a.m. Saturday.
The National Weather Service predicts heavy snow in the San Juan Mountains starting Thursday evening. Scattered rain and snow showers are forecast for lower elevations starting early Friday morning. Montezuma County, which is currently under a red flag warning, could see a reduced risk of fire.
Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist with the NWS station in Grand Junction, predicted 18 inches of snow by Saturday morning for the mountains above 10,000 feet. He said travel could become difficult on Colorado Highway 145 and other mountain roads, especially in the area of Rico and Telluride.
“Use caution, especially in the overnight hours,” he said.
Lower elevations probably won’t get much precipitation. Phillips said up to an inch of snow could accumulate in the Mancos Valley and other high-elevation areas, but he expects most of the county will get rain instead. The NWS website is predicting a 50 percent chance of showers on Friday, with a high of 34 degrees.
The storm could be a breath of fresh air for Montezuma County, which is currently under a red flag warning due to dry, windy conditions. According to the NWS, the wind is expected to die down by Friday morning, dropping from speeds of 10 to 15 mph, compared with gusts of more than 30 mph on Thursday.
“As the storm moves in, luckily the cooler weather and wetter weather will abate the red flag conditions,” Phillips said.
The red flag warning is set to expire at 9 p.m. Thursday. A fire ban has been in effect for Montezuma County since Monday.