Silverton not shorted in Christmas storm

The snowstorms that arrived in Colorado beginning Christmas Day didn’t dump as much white powder in many parts of the state as had been predicted. Residents of Silverton aren’t feeling shortchanged in the snow department, however.

The small town high in the San Juan Mountains received about 4 feet of snow over the holiday, and high winds created drifts as high as 8 feet, according to the Associated Press.

Also, for part of the icy holiday period, Silverton was completely snowbound. Because of the heavy snow and avalanche danger, U.S. Highway 550 was closed both to the north over Red Mountain Pass and south over Molas Pass.

By noon Saturday, Molas Pass was open, with chain restrictions in place, allowing travel between Silverton and Durango. But the road over Red Mountain Pass remained closed.

The Christmas storm proved to be an inequitable distributor of snow. Just 22 miles north of Silverton — but on the other side of Red Mountain Pass — the town of Ouray received only a few inches of snow, the Associated Press reported.

Here in the Grand Valley, where a record snowfall for Dec. 22 fell last Monday, the Christmas storm proved much more miserly than predicted. Snow accumulation Thursday through Saturday was measured in hundreths of an inch, rather than the snowfall of several inches that had been forecast.

Snow was much more abundant on Grand Mesa, where Powderhorn Ski Resort reported Saturday that it had received 11 inches of fresh white gold over the previous 48 hours. Snow fell there throughout most of the day Friday.

The Christmas-week storm caused typical travel problems for motorists, especially in the San Juan Mountains. But there were none of the lengthy closures of Interstate 70 such as those that plagued Thanksgiving weekend.

The threat of heavy snow appears to have dissipated across much of the Western Slope for now, although New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day could bring a chance of more white stuff. And temperatures are expected to remain chilly for the next few days.

All of this is much more winterlike than many residents of the Grand Valley are eager to see. But we can all console ourselves with the fact we don’t live in Silverton.


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