Another storm brings heavy snow to Colorado mountains
The second storm to pound Colorado in a week dumped more than 2 feet of snow in some parts of the mountains on Friday and a rain-and-snow mix as well as fog on lower elevations and the eastern plains.
“We’ve had 30 inches in the last 24 (hours). It’s money out there,” said Trenton Naef, an employee at the Crested Butte ski area about 110 miles southwest of Denver. He said people were waiting in line at the chairlifts first thing Friday morning.
Frisco reported 14 inches and parts of Clear Creek County reported 18 inches.
In northern Colorado, a 20 mile stretch of Interstate 25 between Wellington and Wyoming was temporarily closed Friday evening after several accidents in icy conditions. Blowing snow was reported closer to the Wyoming line.
“It’s so icy you can’t even stand on the highway,” said state patrol spokesman Master Trooper Ron Watkins.
Multiple accidents also shut down eastbound Interstate 70, the state’s main east-west highway, at Vail Pass for about four hours.
The storm brought fog mixed with a few snowflakes to Colorado Springs and the reduced visibility lead to the cancellation of 33 flights through Saturday morning at the city’s airport, aviation manager Mark Earle said. He said only a handful of flights were able to take off during brief periods when the fog lifted. The runways were clear and people who missed flights were able to leave the airport.
The Air Force Academy’s women’s basketball team wasn’t able to fly out to their game against Wisconsin but the school said the game has been moved to Sunday.
The snow is welcome at ski resorts throughout the mountains because many delayed openings or opened limited runs with manufactured snow because of dry, warm weather.
There was too much snow in Aspen. The World Cup women’s downhill scheduled for Friday was postponed one day because skiers prefer fast, hard-packed snow to powder.
The moisture responsible for the storm stretches nearly to Hawaii, said Jeff Colton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
“It’s widespread,” Colton said. “It’s snowing through the central mountains.”
Colton said snowfall would be heaviest Friday but would pick up again Saturday after letting up overnight.
Rain turning to snow was expected to dump up to 10 inches around Rangely and Craig. The Gunnison Valley farther south could get up to 15 inches, the weather service said.
Up to 9 inches had fallen in mountain valleys, while most cities along the Front Range and some spots on the eastern plains had reported about an inch or less.
The weather also slowed down emergency repairs on a bridge at an exit along westbound I-70 near Georgetown and the state transportation department warned that there could be extensive delays Saturday and Sunday mornings when skiers and snowboarders head to the mountains to enjoy the new snow. One lane of the highway is still closed because of the repairs but the off- and on-ramps will be opened to through traffic to help ease congestion.
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