Winter storm warning in effect

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— Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas are under a winter storm warning from noon today until 6 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm system will approach Northwest Colorado from the southwestern part of the state, and the heaviest snowfall is expected to take place tonight. Gusty winds as fast as 30 mph are expected to accompany the snowfall.

Total snow accumulations of 5 to 12 inches are expected in downtown Steamboat Springs. The slopes of Mount Werner could see between 8 and 20 inches of snow by Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Today's high temperature is forecast at 31 degrees, and tonight's low will be about 20 degrees. Friday will be chillier, with a daytime high of 23 and an overnight low of minus 1 degree. The chance of snow persists into the weekend before giving way to partly sunny skies Monday.

To help ease the rush of holiday skiers, the Steamboat Ski Area plans to open chairlifts 15 minutes early beginning Friday. The Pony Express chairlift is expected to open for the first time this season Saturday.

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