National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy Rainfall Threat for Southern Plains and Mississippi Valley; Mild Temperatures for the East

Widespread showers and thunderstorms with the risk for flash flooding from the Southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley develops on Tuesday. Moisture tracking into the Pacific Northwest will bring heavy lower elevation/coastal rain and mountain snow. Meanwhile, unseasonably warm temperatures continue for the eastern two-thirds of the country. Read More >


Christmas 2016 will be remembered for the storm that could have been great. Instead, it shifted slightly north, resulting in windy conditions and less snowfall than we were originally expecting across western Colorado and eastern Utah. The gusty winds created poor visibility over the higher mountains with widespread blowing and drifting snow. Combined with 6 to 12 inches of new snow, travel conditions were poor and a few of the higher passes were closed for periods of time while crews cleared up accidents. A second piece of energy rolled through late Christmas night. This brought very icy conditions to portions of Interstate 70, including in the Grand Valley where the highway was closed for a period of time early Monday Morning (December 26, 2016).

The Grand Mesa and San Juan Mountains were the winners of this storm with over a foot of snow in a few places. The southwestern Colorado valleys and foothills in La Plata and Archuleta counties received a range of 2.5 inches near Ignacio to 3 inches in the town of Durango to 6 inches in Pagosa Springs. Locations below 6200 feet received little to no snow accumulation with this weather system. Northwest Colorado valleys did not see big snow amounts from this weather system, but the Steamboat Springs area did see about 4 to 7 inches from this storm.

Map of total snowfall across eastern Utah and western Colorado after the Christmas 2016 storm
Total Snowfall from the December 24-25, 2016 Winter Storm
Douglas Pass - snow and blowing snow Snowy Pagosa Springs Weather balloon launched on Christmas Day
Snow and blowing snow on Douglas Pass
Credit: CDOT
Snowy morning in Pagosa Springs
Weather Balloon launched on Christmas Day (it's there, look close!)
Credit: Michael Charnick
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