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Colorado Weather: The 'Pineapple Express' Causes Snow Machine, Prompts Avalanche Warning

DENVER (CBS4) - A persistent flow of moisture originating from the waters near Hawaii continues to extend all the way to Colorado. This phenomenon, called the 'Pineapple Express", will bring another 1-2 feet of snow to the high country through Sunday.

A Winter Storm Warning has been extended through 5 p.m. Sunday for the entire I-70 mountain corridor in Colorado as well as the Aspen, Crested Butte, Winter Park, Estes Park, and Steamboat Springs areas above 9,000 feet. Travel will continue to be very difficult to impossible in these areas. In addition to the snow, blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times.

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The heavy snow has prompted an Avalanche Warning to be issued through 8 a.m. Sunday for Summit County and the Vail, Aspen, and Gunnison areas. The danger is HIGH (Level 4 of 5) and avalanches large enough to bury a person are likely.

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Through early Friday morning, most ski areas in Colorado had reported at least 6 to 12 inches of snow.

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For the southern mountains, a Winter Storm Watch is in effect around Telluride, Purgatory, and Wolf Creek for at least 8 to 16 inches of snow with higher amounts possible in the eastern San Juans including over Wolf Creek Pass.

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And speaking of southern Colorado, the Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Canon City, and Walensburg areas are also under a Winter Storm Watch for 2 to 8 inches of snow Saturday night into Sunday. Travel could become very slow south of the Castle Rock area this weekend.

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For the Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas, the main impact from this storm system will be wind. Gusts will reach over 35 mph at times on Friday. Then light snow showers are possible on Saturday and enough snow could fall on Sunday for minor accumulation. At time we expect no more than a few inches of snow in the metro area by Sunday night.

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Dry weather returns early next week as temperatures remain chilly. Highs will be stuck in the 30s on Monday and Tuesday with overnight lows in the single digits and teens.


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