Mountain travel not advised |

Mountain travel not advised

Visibility near zero on passes; snowfall to continue into the night

Staff report

Steamboat Springs — It just keeps coming. — It just keeps coming.

— It just keeps coming.

Routt County residents woke Friday, the first morning of February, to find about a foot of snow on their cars and ski slopes. The severe winter weather caused the National Weather Service in Grand Junction to upgrade its hazardous weather outlook and snow and blowing snow advisory, which remain effective until midnight. Gusty winds and heavy snowfall expected to increase through Friday are creating low visibility and icy, snowpacked road conditions across Northwest Colorado.

“If you are planning travel through the mountains of eastern Utah or western Colorado, be prepared for extremely poor travel conditions,” the weather service advisory warns. “Mountain passes will be icy and snowpacked and visibilities will be greatly reduced in blowing snow. Be sure to pack a winter survival kit in your vehicle if you must travel.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. Highway 6 over Loveland Pass on Friday morning, but re-opened the pass Friday afternoon. As of 1:30 p.m., Rabbit Ears Pass and Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 remained open in both directions, with icy conditions and snowpack reported.

The Steamboat Ski Area reported 13 inches of new snow at mid-mountain Friday morning. That number is expected to increase throughout Friday, especially in Steamboat Springs. More snow is forecast for the weekend.

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“A series of disturbances will bring increasing snowfall to the mountains this morning and through this evening,” the weather service forecasts. “Gusty westerly flow aloft will bring the heaviest snowfall to west-facing slopes. Significant snowfall will also occur across the central and upper Yampa River Valley:Another Pacific storm will bring increased snowfall starting Saturday night.”