Town News

Travelers Should Be Prepared for Major Winter Storm in the Mountains

The following is a joint press release with Summit Fire & EMS, Red White & Blue Fire District, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Town of Silverthorne, Town of Frisco, Town of Breckenridge, Town of Blue River, and Town of Dillon.

With a major winter storm forecast for this weekend, travelers to the mountains are urged to be prepared for potential highway closures, traffic delays of many hours and serious inconveniences, including the inability to reach intended destinations.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 5 p.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. on Sunday, with possible snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches, and travel could be difficult from Friday night through Saturday night.

In previous storms, roads have been closed and traffic has been re-routed from various destinations, contributing to heavy congestion in the areas where roads do remain open, and motorists have been stuck for 8-12 hours on trips that typically take less than two hours in dry weather.

Travel advice from Summit County emergency planners and the Colorado Department of Transportation

  1. Check for weather and closures and be prepared for delays. Officials are urging motorists to check the weather forecast before heading to the mountains, fill their fuel tanks and be aware that road closures may delay travelers for lengthy periods on the highways and leave few options for last-minute lodging.
  2. Ensure that your vehicle and passengers are ready for winter travel in the mountains. Every vehicle should have adequate tires and traction devices, and motorists should bring along snow shovels, tow ropes and emergency equipment such as warm sleeping bags, phone chargers, any vital medications and enough food and water to withstand delays of several hours. Parents traveling with children should take into account their needs, such as bringing diapers for infants and books and games for older kids in case of lengthy delays.
  3. Move over for emergency vehicles. Drivers stuck in standstill traffic will need to be aware of emergency vehicles approaching and must pull to the side immediately when they see flashing lights in their rear-view mirrors. Both snowplows and emergency vehicles also need plenty of room to operate, so do not follow them closely or attempt to pass them.
  4. Be prepared to alter travel plans based on the weather and traffic conditions. Making arrangements to stay in place may be your best option. Motorists should avoid unnecessary travel – even locally – during the storm, when road conditions will be the worst and visibility is poor.

For up-to-the-minute traffic status, visitors should visit the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website or the COtrip mobile-phone app. Summit County sends out emergency messaging via text messages and e-mails through the free Summit County Alert, available at Monitoring local radio stations also may assist travelers in avoiding being caught in standstill traffic.