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First major snow system of the season arrives in Colorado

A storm system has brought snow to the mountains of western Colorado while the Front Range deals with strong winds.
Credit: Dena Schmitzer @thewanderingbuffalo.co
Credit: Dena Schmitzer @thewanderingbuffalo.co

DENVER — The first significant snow event of the season has arrived in Colorado.

The strong storm will bring snow to Colorado's mountains and higher elevations.

A Winter Storm Warning went into effect Saturday night and will remain through Monday morning, with gusts up to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

RELATED: Protect your plants: Freeze Warning issued for Denver metro area

The Park Range in western Colorado could see six to 12 inches of snow accumulation while two to eight inches is forecasted for the Front Range mountains.

Mountain travelers should use caution as mountain passes will be snow-covered or slick from Sunday into Monday morning, said NWS.

Credit: 9NEWS
Winter Storm Warning in effect into Monday morning.

The Denver metro area and Colorado's eastern plains will likely see little or no moisture from this system. The plains are likely to stay dry.

Sunday will be windy in Denver as the cold front moves across Colorado. Winds could gust up to 70 mph at times, so if you are driving to the south and eastern portion of the state, be wary of dangerous cross winds.

Sunday's high in Denver will be 66 degrees, but temperatures drop even further Monday with highs in the 50s. The overnight temperature from Sunday into Monday may drop below freezing, so be sure your sprinklers are winterized.

A freeze watch remains in effect Sunday night into Monday morning for Fort Collins, Boulder and the western suburbs of Denver,  Denver, Castle Rock, Greeley, Byers and southern Lincoln County as overnight lows could drop as low as 27 degrees.

FORECAST: Full forecast

CLOSURES: Full list of closures

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area utilized the storm system to open Sunday, Oct. 23. The ski resort is the first to open in Colorado this season.

A-Basin said its lifts will start turning at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and run until 4 p.m.

The Summit County resort, which often remains open into June, aims to have the longest ski and ride season in Colorado. The earliest Arapahoe Basin has opened is Oct. 9.

Arapahoe Basin said once it opens, it will be fully open for the season, operating seven days a week. The ski area kicks off winter with one lift and one run, providing skiing and riding from mid-mountain to the base. The Black Mountain Express Lift will serve High Noon, an intermediate run.

Beginning Sunday night, Arapahoe Basin said it expects to have 24-hour-day snowmaking conditions for a few days.

RELATED: A-Basin announces plans to open Sunday

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Credit: 9NEWS
GFS model showing upwards of 10 inches of snow in Aspen.
Credit: 9NEWS
Snow in the upper elevations, mix to rain in the lower elevations.

RELATED: 9Things to do in Colorado this weekend

Colorado chain and traction laws

The CDOT urged travelers to be aware of chain and traction law codes before heading out on the roadway:

  • Code 18/Commercial Chain Law: Commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains. Vehicles without chains can often lose traction, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it's critical to use chains to comply with Colorado's chain law.
  • Code 15/Passenger Traction Law: All passenger vehicles must have appropriate all-weather tires with 3/16-inch depth. Vehicles must have one of the following: winter tires, tires with mud/snow (M+S) designation, chains or alternative traction devices such as an autosock. 4WD and AWD vehicles must have winter tires or all-weather tires.
  • Code 16/Passenger Chain Law: All passenger vehicles need chains, except for 4WD and AWD vehicles with all-weather tires with 3/16-inch tread depth.

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