DENVER (CBS4) – Heavy snow combined with blowing and drifting snow will cause extremely difficult travel in the Colorado mountains through Friday night. For Denver and the Front Range, expect more light to moderate snow with occasional heavier snow bands. The snowstorm closed many schools across the Denver metro area on Friday, closed the Air Force Academy base, and has led to dozens of flight delays at Denver International Airport. A civil emergency was declared overnight in Summit County.
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A Winter Storm Warning continues for the mountains including Interstate 70 between Avon and Georgetown for 8 to 18 inches of additional snow east of Vail Pass and 5 to 10 inches of additional snow west of Vail Pass. Wind gusts will also reach up to 65 mph in these areas causing considerable blowing snow and severely limiting visibility.
Many Colorado ski areas and mountain passes will end up with 2 to 3 feet of total snow from this storm. As of early Friday morning, many were already reporting 1 to 2 feet. The windy conditions were too much for Loveland Ski area, though. They announced at 10 a.m. that they would be closed for the day.
The heavy snow and wind has also raised the the avalanche danger in the mountains. An Avalanche Warning continues through 8 a.m. Saturday for virtually all mountain areas north of Highway 50.
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Avalanche Warning expanded in the mountains. Now includes nearly every mountain area north of Highway 50. Officials say avalanches "large enough to bury and kill a person are likely" through tomorrow morning. NO BACKCOUNTRY SKIING TODAY #cowx #4wx @ChrisCBS4 @DaveCBS4 @LaurenCBS4 pic.twitter.com/J1Qg8mwTQk
— Ashton Altieri (@AshtonCBS4) February 7, 2020
For the urban corridor, snow reports Friday morning ranged from less than 1 inch around Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley to more than 6 inches for much of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties including Parker, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, and Castle Rock.
Additional snowfall on Friday in the Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas will generally range from 3 to 6 inches. However, a few more heavier snow bands are expected to hit the I-25 corridor. Accumulation could be far greater under these snow bands thanks to snowfall rates of at least 1-2 inches per hour.
A Winter Weather Advisories continues through midnight Friday night for the entire Denver metro area.
I-70 westbound is closing from Golden to the Continental Divide. Alternate routes are not advised. Please stay safe. https://t.co/aURMKxc5KF
— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) February 7, 2020
At Denver International Airport, the snowstorm was leading to some flight delays and cancellations. Just before 2 p.m., the website flightaware.com listed a total of 685 delays at the airport and 125 cancellations.
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❄️ ❄️ ❄️ Snowy, snowy morning at DEN! Snow is expected throughout the day. Our crews are working hard to keep runways and roadways clear, but as always, double check your flight status with your airline ❄️ ✈️ ❄️
— Denver Int'l Airport (@DENAirport) February 7, 2020
Looking ahead to the weekend, the entire state will get a break from snow on Saturday including the mountains. Blowing and drifting snow will still be possible in the high country but any accumulating snow will not return until Saturday night and Sunday. The metro area should also see snow on Sunday. At this this time, it looks like 4-8 inches of snow in the mountains Saturday night and Sunday and up to 4 inches of snow in the Denver metro area.