DENVER (CBS4/AP) — A large winter storm has moved into Colorado that’s bringing snow, wind and cold temperatures throughout the state.

The storm began Tuesday in the mountains and will move east over the next few days.

Snowfall in the Steamboat Springs area increased during the day Tuesday and spread through the northern mountains and into the central mountains by the afternoon.

Heavy snowfall and strong winds are expected as it moves from the northwest to the southeast. Up to three feet of snow is expected in some areas.

Temperatures in the Denver area dropped from the 50s into the 20s in just a few hours on Tuesday. The westbound side of the Eisenhower Tunnel was temporarily closed because of accidents and the snow.

Chain laws were enacted on Interstate 70 in Summit County and U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass around 9 a.m. Tuesday. Chain laws are also in effect for Hoosier Pass on the south end of Summit County and Vail Pass.

There is concern because many areas in the high country haven’t seen snow in the past week and the new snow is creating a very weak base layer, which has prompted an Avalanche Watch for many of the northern and central mountains throughout Colorado.

It’s not just a concern for backcountry travelers but also for about 300 avalanche paths that the Colorado Department of Transportation monitors that could cause some driving concerns. CDOT will be using avalanche control crews to make sure roadways stay safe from potential avalanche hazards.

“An Avalanche Watch means that if the weather forecast comes through as advertised we will go into an avalanche warning,” Dr. Ethan Green with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. “If we do see what’s been predicted overnight, then CDOT and we will probably be very busy tomorrow morning.”

Up to 9 inches of snow is forecast for Denver by Wednesday afternoon. Temperatures along the northern Front Range are expected to drop into the single digits and drop below zero at night for the rest of the week.

LINK: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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