After the snow comes the cold - at least that's the forecast for the rest of this year for Southwest Colorado.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the San Juan Mountains and a winter weather watch for lower elevations from early Friday morning to early Saturday morning.
Snow is expected to continue Thursday evening, strengthening overnight and dumping anywhere between 3 to 8 inches in the area by Saturday morning, said Chris Cuoco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
"It does look like the storm is going to track such that it's going to bring significant precipitation to the low elevations," Cuoco said.
As the storm moves out Saturday morning, cold northern winds are expected to whip into the region, bringing freezing temperatures with them. Saturday morning's low will be in the single digits and it could get as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit Sunday morning, Cuoco said.
Another storm may make its way through the region Sunday night, but the models are not clear about its path or intensity, Cuoco said.
New Year's Eve may be snowy, but the New Year will ring in with a cold, blue-bird day, Cuoco said.
In Montezuma County, the weather service gives snowfall a 30 percent chance Thursday, a 60 percent chance Thursday night and a 70 percent chance on Friday. An inch of snow is expected tonight, and 2 to 4 inches on Friday. There's a slight chance of snow on Sunday and Monday.
According to the National Weather Service, from 4 to 12 inches of snow were expected in the San Juan Mountains through Friday, with heaviest snowfall on south- and southeast-facing slopes such as Coal Bank and Molas passes on U.S. Highway 550. Slushy and snowpacked road conditions were expected.
The avalanche danger was considered "moderate" in the southern San Juans and "considerable" in the northern San Juans.
On the Colorado Avalanche Center's 5-point scale, a "moderate" threat rates a 2, and a "considerable" threat rates a 3. A "high" threat rates a 4, and an "extreme" threat rates a 5.
On Dec. 22, the center reported the nation's first avalanche death of the 2018-2019 season after a snowmobiler died in the Horse Creek area of the Wyoming Range at 9,150 feet in elevation.