Santa is not the only surprise headed for Colorado tonight

December 24, 2015 - Northwest & Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Regions 3 & 5 - Snow is forecasted for Northwest and Southwest Colorado.

Statewide – Motorists traveling in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Colorado and along the I-70 corridor could expect travel impacts due to a storm moving into the state later today.

The National Weather Service is currently predicting the following:

Northern mountains and Steamboat Springs area

  • 3 to 6 inches of snow is possible starting Friday morning through Saturday

  • Up to a foot of snow possible in the mountains by noon Saturday

Southern and Central mountains

  • Snow showers begin in the afternoon with light to moderate snow starting in the evening hours. Snow continues through Saturday morning

  • Snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches with higher amounts possible

  • US 550, I- 70 especially at Vail Pass, and all mountain passes will be affected

Four Corners region

  • Light snow starts in the afternoon hours and continues through early Friday morning

  • Snow picks up Friday and continues through the day

  • Current thinking is 3 to 6 inches of new snow with higher amounts at higher elevations of CO 160 and CO 491 to include Mancos and Hesperus.

  • Icy and snow packed roads expected

Grand Mesa and Uncompaghre Plateau

  • Snow begins late Thursday afternoon and continues through Saturday morning

  • Accumulations of 10 to 20 inches possible

  • CO 65 across the Grand Mesa and any roads on and over the Plateau will be affected


  • Southern valleys can expect 3 to 6 inches with more snow expected at and near Pagosa Springs ending Saturday morning

  • Snow possible along the entire I-70 corridor from Green River to Vail Pass

  • Accumulations of 3 to 6 inches possible with higher amounts east of the Grand Valley

  • Northern valleys will see 2 to 4 inches through the event

ROAD CONDITION/CLOSURE INFORMATION: To find the conditions and closures (including camera shots), log onto CDOT’s traveler information site at or call 511 from anywhere in the state. Better yet, sign up to receive CDOT Alerts to your email or mobile device (go to and click the white envelope at the bottom of the page). Watch for periodic winter driving photos on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @ColoradoDOT.

CDOT reminds motorists to allow for extra travel time and to always be prepared when traveling during winter weather events. Winter driving tips can be found online at


AVOID A FINE!  Motorists should be aware the Traction Law (Code 15) and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) could be implemented if conditions require it.  When either law is in effect, highway signage will be activated.

  • Traction Law Motorists will need snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M/S) designation, or a four-wheel drive vehicle — all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.
  • Passenger Vehicle Chain Law Every vehicle on the roadway must have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).
  • Without proper equipment, you can be fined $130. If your vehicle blocks the roadway, you could be fined more than $650.
  • Know before you go! Visit CDOT’s traveler information site at; sign up for “CDOT Alerts” in your chosen area by going to and choosing the white envelope at the bottom of the page; log onto CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: for road conditions winter driving tips and other information; or for I-70 West Mountain Corridor travel, go here:
  • Be sure you have good snow tires. How do you know if you need new snow tires? Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first; if the top of George’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK (do this test in multiple points around each tire.) If the top of his head is visible at any point, you need new tires.
  • Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.
  • If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.
  • Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle's safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock deicer.
  • Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.
  • Drive for the conditions. In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don't drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents.
  • Respect winter weather. Conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, and leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road (including plow trucks). Of course, always buckle up!