Sliding, slipping on new snow
Grand Valley residents woke to a fresh blanket of snow and a thin sheet of ice on some roads Sunday morning.
Three separate car accidents occurred in the area, all around 7 a.m., according to Colorado State Patrol spokesman Nate Reid. Two of the accidents were minor, non-injury crashes and another, at 32 and C roads, resulted in minor injuries, Reid said. None of the crashes were serious or closed roads.
“This is what happens when we have weather like this,” Reid said.
After weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures and more than 11 months into the driest year on record in Mesa County, snow has been a rare road hazard so far this winter. Despite the addition of 0.2 inch of new precipitation measured at Grand Junction Regional Airport as of 11 a.m. Sunday, the city has only measured 3.7 inches of precipitation so far in 2012, according to National Weather Service in Grand Junction meteorologist Ellen Heffernan. Normally, Grand Junction gets 8.99 inches of precipitation between Jan. 1 and Dec. 8 in a typical year, Heffernan said.
Forecast projections for the winter indicate dry weather is likely to continue, she added. But this week may be a slightly wet and cold one. The anticipated high for today is 37 degrees before another storm wave moves into the area tonight. That storm will likely dump snow on northern mountains and won’t leave precipitation in the Grand Valley, Heffernan said. Another storm coming in Thursday night and Friday may bring snow, but Heffernan said that system’s path is hard to predict right now.
Above-normal temperatures are projected for Wednesday and Thursday, Heffernan said, but the highs in the 50s people became accustomed to in recent weeks are unlikely to return this week.
Today’s storm is more likely to favor Powderhorn Ski Resort than Thursday’s storm when it comes to accumulation, Heffernan said. A weather spotter for the National Weather Service recorded 8.8 inches of snowfall Sunday morning a few miles below Powderhorn southeast of the town of Mesa. A post on the resort’s Facebook page Sunday afternoon said the overnight storm delivered 7 inches of the white stuff at Powderhorn, giving the ski area a base of 21 inches.
Colorado Ski Country USA’s website lists 13 Colorado ski resorts as open so far this season, with snow depths ranging from 10 inches at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort to 27 inches at Eldora Mountain Resort. Powderhorn is scheduled to open Thursday.