Winter storm and avalanche warnings issued

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According to the National Weather Service, a winter storm warning is in effect from 5 p.m. this afternoon to 8 a.m. Tuesday for the Southwest San Juan Mountains.

Snow is expected to develop overnight tonight and increase in intensity on Monday. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph will cause widespread blowing and drifting snow.

Heavy snow and blowing snow is expected with total snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches, with localized amounts up to 24 inches.

Plan on difficult travel conditions. Visibility may be reduced to less than a half mile at times in snow and blowing snow. Slushy to snow-packed roads will occur. A winter storm warning for snow and blowing snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

The Colorado Avalanche Information center has issued an avalanche watch for dangerous avalanche conditions beginning Monday morning for the San Juan Mountains.

The avalanche danger could increase to high (Level 4) Monday morning if we meet or exceed the upper end of forecast snow totals.

Natural avalanches will become likely and large dangerous human-triggered avalanches breaking near the ground will become very likely.

Backcountry users should avoid traveling on or underneath any slope steeper than 30 degrees during the watch period. Pay attention to changing conditions and a rapidly increasing danger over the next 24 hours.

Consult www.colorado.gov/avalanche for detailed information.