Vail Pass open in both directions; westbound Interstate 70 at Georgetown cleared |

Vail Pass open in both directions; westbound Interstate 70 at Georgetown cleared

• Now open: Interstate 70 in both directions over Vail Pass.

• Now open: Westbound I-70 from Georgetown to the tunnel.

• Dillon Dam Road in Summit County closed until further notice.

The winter’s first major storm closed Interstate 70 and stranded motorists between Avon and Georgetown Monday afternoon.

“It’s a crazy day,” said Nate Reid, trooper with the Colorado State Patrol. “People need to slow down and give each other plenty of room.”

That maximum whack dropped up to 4 inches of snow on parts of the valley and caught dozens of motorists unprepared.

It’s not like you weren’t warned.

For weeks, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State Patrol has had flashing signs over Interstate 70 reminding us that winter is coming, and asking us if our tires are in good shape.

“We try,” Reid said. “Sometimes people listen.”

When the highway closed, local hotels were swamped by people looking for shelter from the storm. In fact, of the three hotels we called, the very professional and polite front desk staffs were entirely too rushed to chat about the weather.

“Yes sir, people are coming to visit,” said one man.

Clouds returning tomorrow night

This storm will be short-lived, and was expected to last about a day, said Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“It’s pretty much the end of unseasonably warm weather,” Phillips said.

The initial front that’s pushing through has some pretty cold air with it, Phillips explained.

Most of that cold air will settle on the Front Range, but there is enough cold air and moisture to keep snow in the forecast for the rest of the week, Phillips said. Steamboat got some snow. So did Meeker and Aspen.

“Everyone is getting a little shot with this first one,” Phillips said.

Snow is expected to last through Monday night, and turn sunny for Veterans Day, the National Weather Service forecast said. Tuesday night, though, will see the clouds return along with a chance of snow through the rest of the week.

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