Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Dec. 1, 2022
(Douglas County, Colo.) The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for the entire Front Range from 8 p.m. Dec. 1 through 5 p.m. Dec. 2., with the highest winds expected on the plains Friday afternoon.
Meteorologists predict conditions will sustain 30-40 mph winds with up to 75 mph gusts along the Northern and Southern Front Range foothills. The Palmer Divide, including Castle Rock and Monument, will see gusty winds that will make travel difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles like semi-trucks.
The Weather Service recommends residents watch for falling debris and tree limbs, which could also knock out power lines.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is staging maintenance personnel and equipment along Interstate 25 from Denver to the New Mexico state line for the hazardous weather. The agency is anticipating the need for highway safety closures and assistance with clearing blown-over vehicles.
Travelers, particularly commercial vehicle drivers, should watch weather conditions and plan to stay off the roads. If you must travel, check COtrip.org for up-to-date conditions and closure information. Drivers should not seek alternate routes to circumvent road closures but rather shelter in place or find a safe location to wait out the high winds, CDOT warned.
When a highway is closed due to weather conditions, alternate routes are likely also impassable, the agency stated in a release.
The wind is due to a system over the Rockies that will drop snow overnight — the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning over the Continental Divide and the eastern San Juan Mountains. Heavy snows and high winds can create whiteout conditions, impacting travel along highways and mountain passes. Current Weather Service forecasts show there could be over 80 mph gusts at the Continental Divide.