Statewide storm event expected to throttle many parts of the state, motorists should expect road closures


The Colorado Department of Transportation is gearing up for a potent storm cycle expected to impact much of the I-25 corridor and eastern plains beginning mid-morning tomorrow. CDOT warns motorists that they may encounter delays and road closures due to anticipated 60-70 mph winds and white out conditions. The following is a summary of conditions forecasted statewide:

SOUTHWEST & SOUTH-CENTRAL COLORADO: Winter storm advisories, hazardous weather outlooks and high avalanche danger warnings have been issued for the southwest and south-central portions of the state. Total snow accumulations could reach 12 to 24 inches. The heaviest snows can be expected above 9,000 ft. on high mountain passes. Snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches expected over the valley floors. Also expect winds gusting as high as 40 mph in some areas. Plan on slippery road conditions at lower elevations and snow-packed conditions in the high country.

METRO DENVER: Major blizzard conditions expected to  impact the Denver metro area beginning tomorrow afternoon lasting through Thursday morning.  Motorists are urged to avoid driving during the height of the storm. The main danger will be high winds, reduced visibility and heavy wet snow.   If you are out, take it SLOW, have appropriate tires and leave plenty of safe space behind plows and the vehicles ahead. CDOT crews have been preparing for the storm getting equipment and materials ready.  100 plows will be out beginning early tomorrow morning with the focus on interstates and high volume roads. Once the storm is over, crews then transition efforts to state maintained secondary roads. This is expected to be an intense storm with possible road closures.

I-25 Monument Hill: One of the major challenging areas during adverse weather is I-25 Monument Hill south of Castle Rock because it is the highest point along the I-25 corridor in the state of Colorado.  If blizzard conditions get to the point where high winds create white out conditions, CDOT may close the road for safety reasons. Motorists should avoid this stretch during blizzard conditions.

NORTHEAST COLORADO: The emphasis shifts to the northeast plains for Wednesday night into Thursday night. High winds, at up to 70 mph gusts, and solid snowfall rates will cause blizzard conditions through Thursday night. Main impacts for blizzard conditions look to be I-25 north from north Denver to Wyoming state line, I-76 from Fort Morgan to Nebraska state line, and I-70 east from Limon to Kansas state line.

SOUTHEAST COLORADO: Becoming very windy during the day Wednesday, with a brief period (2-4 hours) of heavier snow from mid afternoon into early evening along the entire I-25 corridor from Pueblo south to the New Mexico border. While snowfall rates may be minimal in other parts of the southeast, very strong north winds Wednesday afternoon and evening with gusts of 45 to 65 mph will create hazardous driving conditions with poor visibility.

NORTHWEST COLORADO AND I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR: Over the next few days, CDOT’s winter operations division and partnering agency, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), will continue monitoring avalanche danger along the I-70 corridor and several mountain passes. The agencies will work together to determine if avalanche control operations are required to keep high country passes safe for the traveling public.

CO 139 Douglas Pass in Mesa County will close tonight around 7 p.m. and may not reopen until Thursday, March 14 due to avalanche danger.

CO 65 Grand Mesa will be closed tomorrow, Wed. March 13 around noon for Avalanche mitigation. Motorists are encouraged to slow down, plan ahead and be prepared to drive in tough winter conditions.