More Snow Could Bring 8 Inches To Denver

Thursday, December 27th 2007, 7:55 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ Another round of snowfall is expected to pile as much as 20 inches on parts of Colorado that have already been buried by an end of the year gauntlet of record-setting winter storms.

The National Weather Service issued a heavy snow warning beginning Wednesday evening for areas around Grand Mesa, Battlement Mesa and the northwest San Juan Mountains, cautioning against unnecessary travel.

The storm is part of a blast of winter expected to add to snow totals from the Four Corners area in the southwest to the northeastern plains.

Denver residents were expected to see 4 inches to 8 inches before dusk Thursday, adding to the nearly 8 inches that fell Tuesday for the city's biggest Christmas Day snowfall on record.

The central mountains around Aspen and Vail were expected to receive another 6 inches to 12 inches of snow by the end of Thursday.

It will be the latest in a daisy chain of wet Pacific storms that rescued parts of the state from a dry fall.

``We had a very dry November,'' said Mike Chamberlain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. ``But this December is turning out to be the wettest on record, and we have not even finished the month.''

The previous record for precipitation in Grand Junction was 1.89 inches of water set in December 1951. As of Wednesday, 1.99 inches of water had already been recorded this December.

Snowpack that is critical for municipal reservoirs is now at or above seasonal averages in many of the river basins in the western part of the state.

Meteorologists said the latest storm boosted Denver's December snow total to above 15 inches _ about 7 inches above average for the month. With the possibility of another 8 inches on the way, Denver deployed an armada of more than 100 light snowplows onto residential streets. The plowing program is a response to December storms in 2006 that left residential streets frozen for weeks.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation was gearing up to make sure people could take advantage of the abundant snow. With another storm on the way, Colorado Ski Country USA was already trumpeting 31 inches of powder at both Snowmass Village and Silverton Mountain and 23 inches on Aspen Mountain.

``We recognize that with the snow comes an increased desire to ski and recreate in the high country,'' spokeswoman Stacy Stegman said.