Winter storm cancels Summit County school activities, closes roads, boosts resorts
WINTER DRIVING TIPS
Be sure to have good snow tires. To check your tire tread, insert a quarter into the tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first; if the top of his head is covered by the tread in multiple places around each tire, your tires are OK. If the tope of his head is visible at any point, you need new tires.
Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It gives you better traction and a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.
If you are stuck in a serious storm, do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.
Winterize your vehicle’s safety kit: Include extra blankets, sand to help gain traction if you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock de-icer as well as water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for.
Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially with inadequate snow tires.
Know the chain laws. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.
Drive for the conditions. Driving at high speeds in poor visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents.
In addition to these tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, leave extra space between your car and others (including plow trucks), and always buckle up.
After a winter storm Monday brought a few inches of snow to the High Country, powderhounds can look forward to more of the fluff later this week.
“The next seven days in total should bring plus or minus a foot,” said meteorologist Joel Gratz, with OpenSnow.com.
For Summit County resorts, an average November would bring about 3 inches of snow-water equivalent, or close to 3 feet of snow, he said.
Once snow arrives likely Thursday and Saturday, Summit will have seen about a third of its normal November snowfall in the first half of the month.
SCHOOL WEATHER POLICIES
The Summit School District canceled after-school activities and events Monday.
In October, officials sent a letter home to families reminding them of winter weather policies. The district assured parents that its bus drivers are experienced and well trained in winter driving.
The letter also explained that parents shouldn’t expect much notice of weather-related school delays or cancellations; the district doesn’t make those decisions in advance because weather predictions aren’t always accurate.
If weather is hazardous in the morning, district officials consult the National Weather Service, Colorado Department of Transportation and local road and bridge departments, and cancel school if conditions are expected to worsen.
If road conditions are poor at 6 a.m., but predictions indicate quick improvements, the district initiates a two-hour delay, and buses run exactly two hours later than normal. On those days, half-day morning preschool programs are canceled.
By 1 p.m., school officials decide whether to run the Summit Middle School after-school activities buses and to cancel after-school activities.
Parents can sign up for SC Alert, at scalert.org, to be notified of those decisions through email or text. Families can also call the district’s transportation hotline at (970) 368-1777 and check the district website http://www.summit.k12.co.us.
If parents find no reports of a delayed start or cancellation, they can assume all schools are operating normally.
CDOT STARTS SNOW SHIFTS
As accidents caused closures on Interstate 70 and other roads Monday, CDOT maintenance personnel started their first snow shifts of the season.
“Although it’s been a mild fall thus far, we are more than prepared to battle winter weather this week,” said CDOT deputy director of maintenance Mike O’Neill, who oversees the Denver metro area and the I-70 corridor between Idaho Springs and Vail Pass. “We will have maintenance crews on snow shifts to ensure our roadways are safe.”
CDOT will have 30 people operating up to 30 pieces of snow removal equipment on shifts throughout the storm on I-70 east of the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel.
West of the tunnel, CDOT will have up to 19 people operating up to 25 pieces of equipment. Plow trucks will focus on the I-70 stretch through Straight Creek (MM 205 to 218), with another five trucks each for the Vail and West Vail corridors.
“We have more plow trucks and drivers gearing up to provide the best customer service we can,” said Jared Morgan, a maintenance patrol supervisor in Summit County. “We’d like to remind motorists to take their time, leave extra room behind our plow trucks and let us clear the way. And please have vehicles well prepared for these winter events — snow tires are a must.”
RESORTS SAY ‘LET IT SNOW’
Though Monday’s storm caused snafus on some local roads and highways, this week’s snow will be a boon to area ski resorts, which have delayed opening this season due to above-average temperatures.
Keystone Resort and Copper Mountain Resort opened Friday, Nov. 7, after one-week delays, though Keystone held off opening its A51 terrain park.
Winter Park announced Tuesday that will open Saturday, Nov. 13, three days later than planned.
Officials at Breckenridge Ski Resort, which was originally set to open Friday, Nov. 7, said the resort should announce its new opening date today.
Since opening nearly a month ago, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has opened its second intermediate run, Ramrod, and will open top-to-bottom skiing today with two intermediate runs off the Lenawee Mountain Lift: Dercum’s Gulch and Lenawee Face.
At Loveland Ski Area, crews have opened another trail, Spillway, off Chair 1, and they expect to open Richard’s Run Wednesday or Thursday to give skiers and riders two full top-to-bottom runs. The ski area started making snow Monday night on the Roulette run off Chair 6, which officials hope to open soon.
All the resorts will continue snowmaking in an effort to open more terrain as quickly as possible.
Gratz said Tuesday and Wednesday look dry for the mountains, but Thursday should bring 3 to 6 inches throughout the day and possibly into the night.
He forecasted a chance of snow showers on Friday and 2 to 6 inches arriving Saturday and Saturday night, so Sunday morning could mean good early season powder.
Then next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday should be dry, and Gratz predicted another system will roll in sometime between the Nov. 19 and 21.
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