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Front to bring rain, snow

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Strong Wednesday afternoon winds knocked down an old, unused utility pole near the northeast corner of the Riverview Sports Complex, said Ryan Peacock, center, a lineman with La Plata Electric Association. Flanking Peacock are Durango Fire & Rescue Authority firefighter Steve Quisenberry, left, and Capt. Lou Vito. A large cold front is expected to move through Southwest Colorado starting today, with rain and snow possible in Durango through Sunday.

By Herald staff writer

Don’t put those coats away just yet.

“We’re seeing a very big weather event that will wipe off this string of warm weather that we’ve had recently,” Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Wednesday.

The storm is a “very large system,” that will be moving over Durango in two waves, bringing a cold front in today, Phillips said.

Today’s forecast high is 56 degrees with a 20 percent chance of showers after 5 p.m., and wind gusts are expected between 15 and 20 mph. Temperatures will drop to 29 degrees overnight.

Friday’s high is predicted to be near 51 with southerly winds between 5 and 10 mph, Phillips said.

“In town, Durango and surrounding higher elevated areas can expect the worst of this storm to occur between Friday and Saturday,” Phillips said. “The San Juans are definitely favored in this storm, (and) they will most certainly get snow.”

Phillips is forecasting more than 6 inches of snow in the San Juan Mountains, with up to 10 inches possible.

Still, putting on the snow gear and ski boots may be in vain.

“We are closed for the season and will not open until May 26 for summer operations,” said Kim Oyler, spokeswoman for Durango Mountain Resort.

Wolf Creek Ski Area, however, is watching the weather carefully.

“We’re still up in the air at this point. We’re waiting to see what happens,” said Elesha Goad, ticket office supervisor at Wolf Creek.

If the ski area reopens, it will be posted on Wolf Creek’s website, Facebook page and snow-report line, Goad said.

Phillips said lower elevations will experience periods of moderate snowfall and scattered rain showers through Sunday. On Saturday, temperatures are expected to peak at 44 degrees. Snow showers are expected early in the mornings followed by scattered rain and snow showers through the remainder of the weekend, Phillips said. The low is forecast to be 26 degrees.

Sunday will warm up slightly with partly sunny conditions and a high near 50 degrees and a slight chance of rain showers, Phillips said.

Temperatures will slowly continue to warm early next week, Phillips said.

“You’re looking at more seasonal highs and lows during the next 10 days, as opposed to a big warm-up from this storm,” Phillips said.

Monday’s forecast predicts partly sunny skies, with a high near 55 and a low around 27. The high for Tuesday is expected to reach 58 degrees.

pblank@durangoherald.com

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