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Update: Wolf Creek, Molas, Coal Bank passes open; Red Mountain remains closed overnight

Highway 550 closed 10 p.m. Tuesday, parts reopened midday Thursday
Colorado Department of Transportation will begin clearing snow from Wolf Creek Pass and the passes on U.S. Highway 550 between Purgatory Resort and Ouray Wednesday morning. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The Colorado Department of Transportation has reopened Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass and Wolf Creek Pass after it announced Tuesday afternoon that it would close both U.S. Highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass and U.S. 550 from Purgatory Resort north to Ouray.

Red Mountain Pass will remain closed overnight through Thursday morning, a news release from San Juan County said.

The department is dealing with heavy snow that is creating adverse weather conditions and high avalanche danger.

The National Weather Service is predicting snow on Red Mountain pass through the weekend, with some predictions calling for over 2 feet of snow at higher elevations.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning for the region Tuesday afternoon, forecasting a “high danger” level for Wednesday and Thursday at all elevations and all aspects. The danger rating means that natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered slides are very likely. Large avalanches may occur in many areas, and very large slides could occur in specific areas.

“All this snow is falling on a snowpack with several prominent weak layers in the middle and bottom of the snowpack,” the forecast reads. “It hasn't taken much snow recently to trigger avalanche cycles, and this storm brings much.”


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