DENVER (AP/CBS4) — Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday he is activating about 50 Colorado National Guard troops to help first responders conduct any search and rescues required during a winter storm expected to hit the Front Range this weekend. Polis urged residents during a virtual news conference to stay home except for emergencies during the height of the storm, which he said is expected to deliver a mix of rain and snow in the Colorado Springs area to the south and possibly two feet of snow to the north near the Wyoming border.

(credit: CBS)

READ MORE: CBS4 Fan Poll: Have the Broncos closed the gap on the Chiefs?

The National Weather Service in Boulder says parts of the eastern plains could be impacted as well on Saturday and Sunday from the Pacific storm system that brought rain and snow to California this week.

Polis said the state agriculture department is on standby to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the storm.

“You don’t want to be one of those people to be searched down and rescued,” Polis said, urging residents to stay put. “Use your common sense. If it starts to snow, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

READ MORE: Colorado Weather: Tuesday Storm May Fizzle Out For The Denver Metro

The entire I-25 urban corridor from Colorado Springs to Denver to Cheyenne is under a Winter Storm Watch starting at midnight Friday night through midnight Sunday night. The I-70 mountain corridor between Denver and Avon is also under a Winter Storm Watch starting at 5 p.m. Friday.

Download the new CBS Denver app to get all the latest news and weather impacting people here in Colorado.

The highest snow totals in Colorado will be over the higher peaks and mountain passes with at least 36-48 inches of snow possible over Berthoud and Loveland Passes as well the I-70 approaches to the Eisenhower Tunnel.

For much of the Denver metro area, a total of 15 to 25 inches of snow is expected with about half piling up by Saturday night and the remainder falling on Sunday. Even higher amounts are possible in Boulder and Fort Collins with totals reaching near 30 inches in some areas.

MORE NEWS: Firefighters Responding To The West Ranch Fire In Jefferson County

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)