The Colorado Department of Transportation is recommending drivers head home early today if possible, as staffers expect freezing temperatures to make roadways icy and hazardous.
Bayfield Middle School had a ski trip to Wolf Creek planned for today for the sixth grade, but canceled the trip early this morning because of road conditions.
While temperatures in the Pine River Valley are expected to drop from a high of 43 today to a low of 24 tonight, Denver is bracing for a 40-degree temperature drop, from 43 to -2 tonight.
"Flash freezing conditions are a major concern as many of the interstates and highways may see rain that will quickly turn to snow or ice as temperatures are expected to drop rapidly," CDOT said in a statement released this morning.
Wet snow began falling early this morning in the Bayfield area, and snow was turning to rain by late morning.
On the Western Slope, CDOT crews have been working on avalanche mitigation in Ouray and are now checking conditions on Coal Bank Pass, said Lisa Schwantes, the CDOT spokeswoman in Durango. The department is expecting to be working on avalanche mitigation through tomorrow and possibly the rest of the weekend.
CDOT urges all Colorado drivers to stay indoors if possible, but to have snow tires, chains and safety equipment if they need to go out on the roads.
"This is a pretty dangerous event," said Shailen Batt, executive director of CDOT. Two to three feet of snow is expected at Wolf Creek pass. Statewide, CDOT has more than 800 plows on trucks working during the storm, using salt, sand, de-icer and other tools to keep the roads open. Drivers are also asked to obey safety closures, when CDOT shuts down a roadway to clear it of snow and remove any cars stuck in the storm.
Temperatures in Denver Sunday afternoon for the Broncos-Patriots game should be in the teens, Batt said.
Before heading out, drivers can check road conditions at www.cdot.gov.