Update: Colorado snowstorm drops 49 inches; ski areas get big boost

Update: 4:30 p.m. Monday: The National Weather Service has updated snow totals at various weather gauges. A gauge near Rabbit Ears Pass recorded 49 inches of snow as of Monday morning. Another gauge just north of that site in the Mount Zirkle Wilderness recorded 44.8 inches.

A gauge at Mount Audubon, about 20 miles northwest of Boulder, recorded 33.6 inches. One near Longs Peak and Cameron Pass recorded 26.6 inches.

Steamboat Ski Resort reported 33 inches at mid-mountain.

Original story

A powerful weekend weather system that produced as much as 40 inches of snow and wind gusts in excess of 50 mph in Colorado's central and northern mountains closed highways, prompted an avalanche warning and capsized a kayaker, who is presumed dead.

A weather gauge at Rabbit Ears Pass, about 20 miles east of Steamboat Spring, recorded 40.5 inches.

Wind gusts reached 52 mph in Livermore, 41 mph in Red Feather Lakes and 37 mph in Estes Park.

Here's a look at the chaos from the weekend storm, including impressive snowfall totals.

When will the snowstorm clear out from Colorado's mountains?

Much of the snow dropped Saturday, but the central and northern mountains remained under a winter storm warning until 5 a.m. Monday.

Snowstorm makes some Colorado mountain highways impassable

U.S. Highway 40 from Kremmling to Steamboat Springs bore the brunt of the storm. It was closed for hours, as were Colorado Highway 14 from Walden west to U.S. Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 34 north of Grand Lake.

Highways that included Rabbit Ears, Muddy, Berthoud and Loveland passes were all closed for hours.

All roads are open as of Monday morning.

Avalanches a concern in Colorado's backcountry after heavy snow and strong wind

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning through Monday for the Park Range from about Steamboat Springs north to the Wyoming state line as well as Ruby Range and Elk Mountains in central Colorado.

Very dangerous avalanche conditions exist in these area and backcountry travel is not recommended.

Four people have been caught in avalanches in Colorado this winter, but none have died as of Monday.

Kayaker feared dead after waves capsized his vessel on Lake Granby

On Monday, searchers were expected to resume searching for a 21-year-old man from the Denver area whose kayak was capsized by strong winds in open water of Lake Granby on Sunday morning.

Sunday's search was called off due to heavy snowfall, blowing and drifting conditions and zero or near-zero visibility, according to the Grand County Sheriff's Office. Favorable weather conditions were expected Monday.

Two men had camped on the lake's Deer Island on Saturday night and were attempting to return to their vehicle on shore Sunday morning. While paddling through open water, wind capsized one of the vessels and the kayaker fell into the frigid water.

The other kayaker told responders he was unable to save his friend before he went underwater. He was able to safely paddle to shore.

Searchers found the man's body around 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, according to the sheriff's office.

Colorado mountains, ski areas receive much needed snow

Here are snowfall totals as of Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Rabbit Ears Pass (1 mile north-northeast): 49 inches

  • Mount Zirkle Wilderness (4 miles southeast): 44.8 inches

  • Mount Audubon (3 miles north-northeast): 33.6 inches

  • Cameron Pass (7 miles south-southeast): 26.6 inches

  • Longs Peak (4 miles north-northwest):26.6 inches

  • Berthoud Pass (1 mile north-northwest): 26.6 inches

  • Loveland Pass (1 mile south-southeast): 19.6 inches

  • Eldora (1 mile southwest): 18.2 inches

  • Winter Park: 18 inches

  • Copper Mountain: 18 inches

  • Breckenridge (3 miles southwest): 17 inches

  • Keystone (4 miles southeast): 13 inches

Fort Collins forecast calls for highs in the 60s this week

Here's the city's forecast this week, according to the National Weather Service:

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56 degrees but wind northwest at 13 to 18 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the morning and gusting to as high as 40 mph. Low around 26 degrees.

Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 55 degrees, light wind around 6 mph. Low around 30 degrees.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 63 degrees, wind around 6 mph and low around 31 degrees.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 60 degrees and low around 27 degrees.

Friday: A chance of snow with high around 45 degrees and low around 20 degrees.

Saturday: Slight chance of snow, mostly sunny with a high near 40 degrees and low 17 degrees.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 46 degrees.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Weekend storm drops double-digit snow totals on Colorado ski areas