Atmospheric River Brings Snow, High Winds, and Freezing Temperatures to the Rocky Mountain West


Image: Pacific satellite view showing atmospheric river impacting California on Sunday 2/4/24 – Source: 

Reporting on extreme winter weather coating Colorado with snow, the Ark Valley Voice wrote on February 3, “‘Atmospheric river’ winter storm continues, roads snow-packed. “

The storm prompted Colorado’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) to warn against unnecessary travel. For those who choose to travel despite the hazardous road conditions, CDOT recommended “that anyone starting out to go anywhere onto higher mountain roads check CDOT’s COTrip website for updated information, road conditions, and road closures.”

The wet heavy snow from a “‘pineapple express’ coming out of the Pacific Ocean,” has caused icy conditions with many accidents being reported on the roads, especially in mountain passes.

Denver’s Fox 31 listed measured snowfall amounts as of February 3. The snow measurements varied even within different areas of the same county. A small area in Pueblo country, for example, reported just one inch of snow, while more than seven inches was common across much of the county with a high snow total of 11.6 inches in one location in Pueblo. Larimer and Garfield counties reported similar results of low snow totals in some areas of an inch or just under an inch, with high snowfall amounts topping 11 and five inches respectively, in those counties. As of 9:00 am Sunday, February 4, the top snowfall amounts reported by Fox 31 for Colorado’s “front range” counties were 18 inches in Custer and 24 inches in Gunnison.

Other Rocky Mountain states were hit by the same winter storm. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a range of “Winter Storm Warnings” across Montana and Wyoming, for snow, blowing snow, high winds, and ice.

In Montana, Montana Right Now reported that “Marias pass may see 6″ – 10″, valleys and low-elevation areas may see 1″ – 3″, and the 2″ – 8″ in Gallatin County.”

Whereas, in Wyoming the hazardous driving conditions and accidents resulted in Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie being closed, according to KGAB.


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