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Storm will bring relief for skiers, headaches for drivers
Northern El Paso and Teller counties could see 6 inches or more of snow by Wednesday afternoon as a Pacific storm packing highway-speed wind gusts blows through the Pikes Peak region.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service office in Pueblo say Colorado Springs will see lower snow amounts, but what falls will be blown by gusts topping 45 mph in the city, likely snarling the morning commute.
The storm will be gone by Wednesday afternoon, giving way to frigid temperatures in the single digits before warming Thursday.
The storm is expected to dump snow in the high country, piling more than a foot on Pikes Peak and bringing relief to skiers who have suffered through a fall drought that delayed resort openings.
Getting to the mountains, though, will be tough.
"The earlier you can get on the road the better," forecaster Randy Gray said.
Aspen and Gunnison could get more than a foot of snow from the storm. Parts of the northeastern plains are under a blizzard watch.
The storm formed in the Gulf of Alaska and moved south. It was barrelling toward Washington, Oregon and northern California on Monday night.
Any moisture is good news in Colorado Springs this year.
"The Colorado Springs precipitation for the year is dismal," Gray said.
With 8 inches of precipitation for 2012 through Monday, the city has seen about half the rain and snow it would get in a normal year.
The storm heading for the region won't fix that.
"It will be a short-term relief," Gray said. "It would take the rest of the winter to improve these drought conditions."