18 hurt, dozens of vehicles crash as more snow hits Colorado
DENVER – Nearly 20 people were hurt as dozens of vehicles crashed on a slippery Interstate 25 south of Denver Wednesday after a surprisingly potent storm dumped a more than a half-foot of snow on the Front Range.The State Patrol reported 18 people were taken to hospitals, four with serious injuries and the others with minor to moderate injuries.A 12-mile northbound stretch of I-25 was closed for several hours north of Colorado Springs, from Monument Hill to Larkspur, because of the wrecks and treacherous conditions.Master Trooper Ron Watkins said authorities had to send a school bus to collect motorists stranded and bring them to a hotel in Castle Rock.Watkins’ advice to motorists: “Stay away from the area.”The National Weather Service had predicted less than 3 inches of snow for Denver, arriving later in the day, but a wind current began wringing moisture out of the air around sunrise and big flakes began piling up quickly.At least 7 inches of snow fell in the suburbs west of Denver and 10 inches in the foothills.”It’s getting to be that time of year, it’s almost March,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Koopmeiners. “You expect it this time of year.”March is typically one of the state’s snowiest months.A winter storm warning was in effect for the central and southern mountains. A snow advisory was issued for Denver and the eastern foothills.Eastern Colorado, hammered by a fast-moving storm over the weekend, remained dry Wednesday. Koopmeiners said the spring weather pattern generally spares those areas. And snow continued falling across the mountains.Steamboat Springs ski resort recorded 5 feet of snow in five days at its 10,000-foot summit, spokesman Mike Lane said. The resort had its second-snowiest February with 97 inches by midday Wednesday, he said.”There’s a lot of happy, smiling faces up here,” Lane said.Colorado Ski Country USA said all its member resorts had received some fresh powder in the past 24 hours.More snow was expected in the mountains Thursday, with a slight chance of snow across the Western Slope. Skies were expected to clear across lower elevations in the eastern half of the state.
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