Colorado weather: Dangerously cold weather starts Friday and will last through the long weekend

Craig Steamboat Winter Driving
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A delivery truck makes its way down a backroad through the snowy landscape between Craig and Steamboat Springs Jan. 22, 2020.

Prepare for dangerously cold weather and winter driving conditions across the state starting Friday through Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

Gov. Jared Polis announced a disaster declaration Thursday, which activated the Colorado National Guard to keep people safe during the cold snap. Emergency shelter operations have been extended through the long weekend.

High temperatures on the Front Range will see the single digits with overnight lows 10 degrees below zero. National Weather Service Meteorologist Kyle Mozley said the lowest temperatures could reach 20 to 30 degrees below zero on Monday night into Tuesday morning.

“We're gonna have three to four days of bitterly cold air,” Mozley said. He added that wind chill will make matters worse.

Starting Friday, Colorado’s mountains will have continuous moderate to heavy snow, and strong wind, making for challenging driving conditions. Heavier snow is expected through Monday for the central mountains.

Snow is possible on Sunday for the Front Range. Mozley predicts a few inches and said it will be light and fluffy with minimal impact on roads. 

State transportation officials advise people to avoid travel but for those headed into the mountains, people should prepare with warm clothes, food and water. 

Here’s what else you need to know about the polar vortex about to blast Colorado.