DENVER (CBS4) – An active February for wintry weather will continue across Colorado this President’s Day Weekend as a powerful jet stream returns to the state. It will produce widespread strong, gusty wind and will have the potential to produce feet of snow.

The snow should begin as early as Saturday night in the northern mountains and it will become widespread and heavy at times by Sunday night. Periods of moderate to heavy snow will likely last through the day on Monday. The heaviest snowfall will be on slopes that face west and northwest in the mountains along and north of Interstate 70.

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Eagle Wind ski area at Winter Park

A view from the Eagle Wind chairlift at Winter Park in February 2020. (credit: CBS)

The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Storm Watch for several mountain areas including Vail, Steamboat Springs and Aspen. Additional watches, warnings or advisories are likely. Many mountain areas could see between 10 and 20 inches of snow. The heaviest totals will be in the Elkhead and Park Mountains of northwest Colorado.

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The President’s Day holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year through Colorado’s Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor. The Colorado Department of Transportation says westbound traffic will peak on Friday and eastbound traffic will be highest on Monday. Last year, over 174,000 vehicles passed through the Eisenhower and Johnson Memorial Tunnels over the course of the holiday weekend with more than 40,000 motorists each day on Sunday and Monday.

i-70 sign snow winter closed

(credit: CBS)

Travelers hitting this road this weekend are urged to give themselves extra time to reach their destinations and be ready for winter weather. CDOT urges you to consider the following…

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• Be winter ready with the appropriate tires for the weather and survival kit (extra food, water and clothes; blankets, flash lights and other gear)
• Give yourself extra time to reach your destination
• Leave a safe driving distance behind the vehicle head
• Be extra vigilant (drive sober, no texting, no distractions)
• Be watchful of the weather particularly on Sunday morning through Monday
• Know before you go and check out for the latest road conditions

Chris Spears