VAIL - The first significant snow of the season is falling in the high country Wednesday. It is part of a weather change that is bringing cooler, wetter weather across the state.
As much as a foot of snow has fallen in some mountain communities and more is on the way. That is good news for Colorado, experiencing the driest year since record keeping began in 1890.
Snow fell at Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Aspen and Snowmass.
Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone received three to six inches of snow.
Game Greek Bowl near Avon and Vail looks completely white as does the entire top half of Beaver Creek Mountain.
Jamie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the town of Vail, said the snow is welcome after a disappointingly dry summer.
"It is imperative that we get snow for water and tourism. And I just bought new skis," she said.
Snow is falling at Aspen/Snowmass, with another nine inches falling overnight. Over the past 48 hours a foot of snow has blanketed the slopes and covered the streets of Aspen and Snowmass Village.
9NEWS weather anchor Kathy Sabine says a trough of low pressure is setting up over the area, giving us a cool and unsettled weather picture for the next 24-36 hours.
In Denver the weather will be chilly with a brisk north wind in the afternoon with rain showers possible.
The high country will see scattered rain and snow showers for the next two days. The National Weather Service says up to 4 inches of snow are expected above 9,000 feet in the northern and central mountains by midday Wednesday. Snow showers are possible Wednesday night in the foothill suburbs of Denver.
"The seasons have been so topsy-turvy that it wouldn't surprise if we got blasted this winter. We have our highest stream flows right now," said Mike Shimkonis, a Telluride businessman.
Both Telluride and Telluride Mountain Village imposed water use restrictions early in the summer.
"I'd like to think this is as dry as it can get. These snows are encouraging," said Shimkonis.
Even outside 10,177-foot elevation Leadville, surrounded by 14,000-foot mountains, the only easily visible snow until this week was a glacier on Mount Massive.
The Collegiate Peaks, the 14,000-foot mountains above U.S., have been barren of snow until Tuesday, when they had a dusting.
The 12,000-foot-high Trail Ridge Road that connects Estes Park and Grand Lake across Rocky Mountain National Park closed Tuesday due to weather conditions. It was at least the second time since August that wintry weather forced the highway to close.
Traces of snow were recorded earlier in a couple of locations in Colorado, but this was the first storm to cover a wide area.
[ September 18, 2002, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: Kima ]