Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Today, December 21, is officially the shortest day of the year; the day when the sun’s path across our sky is at its furthest southern point. With sunset tonight in Chaffee county at 4:46 p.m., we will all need to settle down to a “long winter’s night”.

A massive winter storm moving down from Canada with high winds and bitter cold is expected to disrupt travel for just about anyone in the Rockies from the center of the state west, north, and east. Those trying to get anywhere on the northern plains and the Great Lakes area for the next couple of days are going to have a time of it.

This morning, with overnight snow, car crashes and winds already clocking at 40 miles per hour, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has temporarily closed portions of I-70 at West Vail and Eagle.

Winter storm warnings and watches are already up across all or portions of more than 20 states. It might be sunny and 30 degrees in Albuquerque, but it’s already -4 in Minneapolis. While we’ll get the cold, the forecast for Buena Vista is only a 40 percent chance of some snow by around 11:00 p.m. tonight.

Meteorologists from the Grand Junction Office of the National Weather Service are saying this is the worse pre-holiday storm to hit in decades, with winds up to 65 mph and several inches of snow. Windchills of -40 are predicted in the high elevations and across northern plains.

The storm is serious enough that Governor Jared Polis has activated more than 100 Colorado National Guard members to help assist as the state prepares to face extreme and record-low temperatures and wind.

“Colorado’s National Guard is up to the challenge whether it’s helping distribute the life-saving vaccine or respond to wildfires across our state. Colorado is about to face extreme weather and cold temperatures and the Guard is ready to assist local communities to help keep people safe during this extreme-cold weather snap,” said Polis.

The verbal declaration activates the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center and the State Emergency Operations Plan and directs the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to take all necessary and appropriate State actions to assist the affected jurisdictions with their response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. This also allows the OEM to mobilize state resources, and make contracts and awards using Emergency Procurement Procedures.

Triple AAA estimates that some 111 million Americans will be on the move for the holidays over the coming days.

The Colorado State Patrol is warning that this is life-threatening weather, meaning anyone traveling over the next few days should have an emergency kit in their car to include items like blankets, water, food, emergency flares, hand-warmers, cell phones and cell phone chargers. Remember that batteries do not last as long in extreme cold weather.