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Watch your step, winter’s here

More snow expected this weekend for Rifle, National Weather Service meteorologist says

Rian Wright of the Rifle Parks and Recreation Department shovels snow at Centennial Park on Tuesday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Rifle received a nice dusting of snow between Monday and Tuesday. There’s more to come, a weather specialist said.

Grand Junction-based National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Stearns said Tuesday morning that Rifle received close to an inch of snow accumulation early this week.

With another storm system moving in, the town is expected to receive about another inch of snow throughout the weekend. Wind speeds are also expected to increase Thursday and Friday.



“Thursday afternoon, winds should be gusting 20 miles per hour,” he said. “It’s really not until Friday you see the strongest gusts, at 25 miles per hour.

A truck equipped with a plow drives down a residential street in Rifle on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“Saturday into Sunday and maybe through Monday, there’s sporadic chances of snowfall throughout that time,” he added.



Snowfall in Rifle over December is expected to reach eight inches, Stearns said.

“This is basically on par with La Niña, so no big surprises there,” he said. “The southwest portion of the state is above normal for snowfall. The north is at normal.”

La Niña is a weather pattern triggered by cooler sea-surface temperatures across the east-central Pacific Ocean, bringing a variable polar jet stream into the north-central Rocky Mountain region. The opposing El Niño pattern is caused by above-average sea-surface temperatures and a more direct southwestern Pacific flow.

Downtown Rifle covered by snow Tuesday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Colorado River Fire Rescue Chief Leif Sackett said the onslaught of winter conditions should prompt people to take as many precautions as they can.

Namely, Sackett doesn’t want anyone slipping. He said people should “step down” and “not out” when stepping off a curb or exiting a vehicle.

“The slips, trips, falls — those increase,” he said. “The first few big snowstorms of the year are also slide offs and vehicle accidents.”

Pay attention to your surroundings, Sackett said.

“The main thing — now that we have some snow on the ground — you definitely want to focus on your footing,” he said. “When you’re walking down the sidewalk, and it’s icy, you probably don’t want to be looking down at your phone.” 

A dusting of snow covers the head of a bull grazing near Rifle Gap Reservoir on Tuesday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

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