Snow will decrease today, but the cold will stay around longer

Staff reports Updated: February 7, 2011 at 12:00 am • Published: February 7, 2011

A blast of arctic air meant blowing snow and icy roads in the Pikes Peak region and many woke up under a blanket of fresh powder.

The National Weather Service placed much of southern Colorado — including Colorado Springs and Woodland Park — under a Winter Weather Advisory that was expected to last until 5 p.m., meaning sub-zero wind chills and more snow.

Good news: most drivers won't have to deal with much snow during the afternoon and evening commute.

Bad news: it will remain bitterly cold until Wednesday afternoon and some streets remain slick.

Find out about school and business delays and closures at gazette.com. Also read The Gazette's online edition free on Tuesday while the wind whips outside your doors.

The latest storm system arrived in the Pikes Peak region around midnight, with fierce winds the earliest sign of change. Drivers are advised to take caution as emergency radio transmissions were reporting several minor accidents in the Colorado Springs area.

The Colorado Springs police and State Patrol in both Teller and El Paso counties have been on accident alert since early Tuesday morning. In case of a crash, those involved should exchange information unless their are injuries or alcohol or drugs were involved.

Colorado Springs could see 3 to 5 inches from this storm, said John Kalina, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Nearly double that amount — 4 to 8 inches — was forecast for Monument and Woodland Park.

Accompanying the snow have been much colder temperatures.

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the weather service was reporting 4 degrees in Colorado Springs with a wind chill of 16-below zero. High temperatures in the Colorado Springs area should linger in the single digits Tuesday and Wednesday, with wind chills of as low as 30 degrees below zero.

The National Weather Service was forecasting up to 14 inches of new snow by noon Tuesday for Steamboat Springs and 10 to 20 inches by Tuesday night for Crested Butte, Aspen, Vail and Marble.

The western and southern Denver suburbs could get as much as 8 inches of snow from the storm.

Snow also is expected in the San Luis Valley, where the snowpack has been lagging. The statewide snowpack was 119 percent of average Monday, but the Upper Rio Grande Basin was 87 percent of average.

Any moisture to the Pikes Peak region is welcome. A little more than 6 inches of snow has fallen so far this season at the Colorado Springs Airport, far below the 22.9 inches normally seen by early February.

Temperatures are expected to pick up a bit Thursday; forecasters are calling for a high of 31 degrees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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