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Snow to make travel conditions difficult in the high country this week

Motorists are urged to take it slow, leave a safe space behind the vehicle ahead, don’t pass plows and avoid driving during the height of a storm.

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said drivers need to be prepared for difficult mountain travel this week as two storm systems bring rain, snow and wind to Colorado.

The first winter storm is expected to drop several inches of snow across Colorado’s Western Slope mountains on Tuesday with the majority of the snow forecast for the southwest mountains.

Another system will bring additional rain and snow over Colorado's northern and central mountains and even colder temperatures Thursday and into Friday.

The storm system on Thursday night into Friday morning looks increasingly likely to bring Denver its first snowfall of the winter season. Denver's average first measurable snowfall date is on Oct. 18, so mid-October snows are fairly typical.

RELATED: Good chance for snow in Denver later this week

The Front Range and easterly plains will experience strong gusting winds. CDOT said high-profile vehicles are urged to use extreme caution and motorists should check COtrip.org for road conditions and weather forecasts before traveling.

CDOT is preparing for snow packed and icy conditions and difficult travel conditions on the Western Slope. Snow could blow up to 60 mph in mountain areas west of Denver including I-70.

Credit: CDOT

Motorists are urged by CDOT to take it slow, leave a safe space behind the vehicle ahead, don’t pass plows and avoid driving during the height of a storm.

Travelers should be prepared for Colorado's Chain and Traction Laws as they will likely be implemented. Motorists should also make sure cars are equipped with emergency kits before heading out in the likely event of road closures. Emergency kits should include chains/alternative traction devices, water, sand/cat litter, flares, jumper cables and blankets.

RELATED: Two chances for rain showers this week, possibly mixing with snow at night

From Sept. 1 through May 31, all commercial vehicles traveling on Interstate 70 between the Dotsero (Exit 133) and Morrison (Exit 259) must carry sufficient chains to be in compliance with the Colorado chain law, according to CDOT. Chains help commercial vehicles traverse the steep climbs often present in the high country. Without chains, vehicles often become disabled, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures.

Chain and Traction Laws 

When weather conditions warrant, CDOT will activate the Traction Law. If weather conditions deteriorate, CDOT will activate Chain Laws for passenger and commercial vehicles. Motorists will be alerted to an active Traction or Chain Law by highway signage, COtrip.org and traffic/roadway condition alerts.

For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit codot.gov/travel/winter-driving/tractionlaw. For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit codot.gov/travel/colorado-chain-law. To learn more and view tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

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