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Colorado mountain forecast: What to expect along I-70 this Presidents' Day weekend

Posted at 8:03 AM, Feb 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-16 13:26:32-05

DENVER — The nice conditions in the Colorado high country on Saturday soon turned to another winter storm.

Snowy conditions moved into the north and central mountains late Saturday night and was expected to affect travel with heavy snow, strong winds and very poor visibility on Sunday and into Monday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning, beginning 11 p.m. Saturday, for areas north of the I-70 corridor, including Steamboat Springs and the Rabbit Ears Pass area. A winter storm watch will go into effect for the ski areas along I-70.

In the northern mountains, as much as 30 inches of snow could fall through Monday afternoon, and as much as 18 inches could fall in pockets of the mountains closer to I-70. Here were the latest snowfall projections from the weather service:

Wind gusts could reach 60 mph in the higher-elevation areas of the mountains, and sustained winds are expected in the 20-25 mph range. Blowing snow could cause whiteout conditions in some areas.

The winter storm will come as thousands of skiers and snowboarders will begin making the trip back east to the Denver area on Presidents' Day weekend, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year along I-70.

Last year, more than 25,000 eastbound vehicles passed through the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels on both Sunday and Monday of the holiday weekend, according to Colorado Department of Transportation.