August 3, 2021

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Colorado Winter Storm Update: Blizzard warning issued for I-25 corridor; I-25 closed between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock – Colorado Springs Gazette

11 min read

Stay with this story for updates on Colorado weather Sunday:

The Storm: Front Range communities face a second day of snow from a winter storm that’s still pounding Colorado. Denver could see another seven inches of snow while Colorado Springs faced up to five inches. 

Overnight, the storm left neighborhoods around Denver with about three inches of snow and a similar amount was on the ground in the Pikes Peak region, the weather agency said.

The biggest snow totals in Colorado from the storm came near Fort Collins, with nearly a foot reported by spotters and more on the way.

Snow began falling across the Front Range just before 10 a.m. Saturday and forecasters expect snow to stick around through Sunday.

1:50 p.m.: The Red Cross has closed two of its three warming shelters in El Paso County. No clients have used the shelters, located in Colorado Springs and Monument, since opening on Saturday. The shelter at the Patriot Learning Center in Falcon remains open.

1:35 p.m.: Pikes Peak region residents should avoid driving if possible and prepare for whiteout conditions if they must travel, particularly in higher terrain, the El Paso County Office of Emergency Management warned in a statement. Blowing snow from gusty, northerly winds and slick roads will result in hazardous travel conditions throughout the day. 

Current road closures include:

· I-25 from Interquest Parkway in north Colorado Springs to Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock is closed in both directions (mile markers 153-180)

· Highway 24 from Constitution Avenue to Limon is closed in both directions

· Highway 83 from Shoup Road to Black Squirrel Creek is closed in both directions

· Highway 94 from Space Village to Limon is closed in both directions

· Highway 105 from Monument to Sedalia is closed in both directions

1:30 p.m.: Interstate 70 is closed in both directions east of Idaho Springs because of adverse conditions, the Colorado Department of Transportation said. There is no estimated reopening time and travel is discouraged.

1:15 p.m.: El Paso County’s full fleet of 36 plows have been at it since Sunday morning, clearing roads ranging from wet to snowy, with plenty of ice along the way.

Most plow operators reported moderate to heavy winds and blowing snow creating poor visibility throughout most of the county, a county spokesman said in a tweet. There are 22 motor graders out working the dirt roads as well.

Moderate bands of snow passed through urban areas, while the eastern communities of Calhan, Peyton and Ramah experienced blizzard conditions.

1 p.m.: Denver International Airport closed all six runways Sunday as the area experiences heavy snowfall and nearly two feet of snow accumulation.

Just before noon, DIA announced it had closed all runways because of blowing snow and low visibility, though officials said the closures would have minimal impacts because of previously canceled flights.

As of 12:30 p.m. DIA said there was 19.1 inches of snow at the airport. The airport is the official recording station for the city.

The National Weather Service predicts up to 27 inches of snow will accumulate at the airport before the storm ends.

In response to these conditions, 1,329 Sunday flights at DIA have been canceled as of noon, according to flightaware.com. In addition, 58 flights have been delayed.

12:30 p.m.: The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the I-25 corridor from the Wyoming state line to northern El Paso County until midnight.

The service said an additional 2 to 6 inches of snow with gusts as high as 45 mph will create nearly impossible travel conditions.

12:25 p.m.: Storm-battered Longmont will close all its public facilities Monday, including the public library and its youth and senior centers.

“Longmont was hit with 8 to 10 inches of snow overnight,” City Manager Harold Dominguez said. “Although our city snow crews are doing a great job of clearing main drive lanes, the best thing to do is close our facilities to the public on Monday. That will help keep cars off the roads and allow the plows to continue to do their job.”

The city was expecting another 8 to 10 inches of accumulation on Sunday and Monday. High winds could cause snow drifts, affecting travel.

“The best thing for the public to do is to stay off the roads,” Dominguez added.

Noon: Interstate 25 is closed in both directions between north Colorado Springs and Castle Rock due to adverse conditions, the Colorado State Patrol said.   

Traffic is barred from traveling a 30-mile stretch of the interstate from Interquest Parkway, exit 153, and Plum Creek Parkway, exit 181. Highways 93 and 105 are also closed.

There is no suitable alternate route, and no estimate for reopening, the agency said.

In the Denver area, white-out conditions have likewise closed Interstate 70 between east Aurora and Limon, starting at Airpark Road. 

Near Idaho Springs, eastbound I-70 is closed at the bottom of Floyd Hill — mile post 244 — because the hill is “covered with vehicles unable to make it up,” the Colorado State Patrol said. Drivers are urged to detour through U.S. Highway 6 through Clear Creek Canyon.

11:50 a.m.: Some updates from Gazette journalists across the region:

Parts of Woodland Park have been already been slammed with up 16 inches of snow, as Features editor Nathan Van Dyne documents with his handy deck-side ruler.

van dyne.jfif

Fellow Woodland Park resident and longtime reporter Debbie Kelley shared this pic of a bird seeking shelter in her yard. Follow her at @inkywoman for more.

woodland park.jfif

And while Colorado Springs hasn’t seen quite so much accumulation, Cargo, a seven-year-old Labrador mix, was digging it all the same. Here’s video of Cargo coping in the backyard, courtesy of Janet Day, a night news editor:

11:05 a.m.: An update on conditions at Denver International Airport, courtesy of our Hannah Metzger:

The Denver International Airport made extensive cancellations and delays Sunday as the area accumulated nearly one foot of snow in the early morning.

As of 10 a.m. DIA said there was 11.1 inches of snow at the airport, with moderate snowfall. The National Weather Service predicts between 15.5 and 27 inches of snow will accumulate at the airport before the storm ends.

In response to these conditions, 1,313 Sunday flights at DIA have been canceled as of 10:30 a.m., according to flightaware.com. In addition, 51 flights have been delayed.

The impacts have also begun to spill into the week. At DIA, 311 flights have been canceled and 53 have been delayed for Monday and 55 flights have been canceled for Tuesday, according to flightaware.com.

On Saturday, 1,981 flights were canceled and 4,315 were delayed at DIA.

11 a.m.: Here’s a look at snow totals so far in Southern Colorado, courtesy of Gazette news partner KKTV.

10:30 a.m.: Preparatory actions are being taken to potentially close I-25, according to a Sunday morning email from the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management. The office and the state transportation department are monitoring the situation, a spokeswoman for the office said. No further details were immediately available.

Highway 24 is currently closed from Constitution Avenue to Limon in both directions, and Highway 94 is closed from Space Village to Limon in both directions, according to the office.

In the Colorado Springs area, Red Cross shelters remain open at Kilmer Elementary, 4285 Walker Road in Colorado Springs; St. Peter Catholic Church, 55 Jefferson Street in Monument; and Patriot Learning Center, 11990 Swingline Road in Peyton, which is actually in Falcon near Woodmen Road and Highway 24, according to the office.

10:15 a.m.: The west side of Rocky Mountain National Park is closed at the U.S. Highway 34 and Grand Lake entrance, along with Kawuneeche Visitor Center, due to worsening weather conditions, officials said Sunday.

Wild Basin Road, the Longs Peak Trailhead Parking area, Moraine Park Campground, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Fall River Visitor Center remain closed this weekend, they added.

10 a.m.: Denver International Airport officials expect as much as another foot of snow Sunday to go with the the 11 inches that has already fallen there.

All that snow has tangled travel through the facility with more than 800 flights cancelled and more than 50 delays so far.

“Airlines are operating a limited number of flights today, with the majority of flights operating late this afternoon or early evening,” the airport said in a statement.

Don’t risk a drive to DIA for a flight that’s not happening, the airport warned.

“Travelers should confirm their flight status with their airline before heading to the airport,” officials said.

9:30 a.m.: State leaders say the storm is hitting Colorado harder Sunday that it did on Saturday, making driving dicey.

“While the storm took some time to pick up yesterday, it is much more intense today — and just as it arrived a little later than anticipated, it will be with us for longer than originally expected, through today and tonight,” Shoshana Lew, who heads the Colorado Department of Transportation, said in a statement. “We ask motorists not to let their guard down; today’s conditions are worse than yesterday.”

“We saw great partnership from the public as this storm slowly moved in yesterday,” Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard said in a statement. “Now we need people’s continued help and cooperation to keep everyone safe—stay home if you can and limit travel for only essential or emergency needs.”

9 a.m.: An avalanche has closed Colorado Highway 14 from Ted’s Place north of Fort Collins to Cameron Pass, the state Department of Transportation said.

State officials have issued and avalanche warning for the Front Range today as snow piled up from the weekend storm starts to slide.

Interstate 25 remains closed north of Fort Collins to the Wyoming line and Highway 287 from Fort Collins to Wyoming is also shuttered.

Highways 24 and 94 east of Colorado Springs are also closed due to blowing snow.

8:45 a.m.: Snow is picking up across the Front Range, bedeviling snow plow crews trying to clean up streets.

In Colorado Springs, officials asked drivers to steer clear of plows, which need extra room to deal with heavy snow in the city’s northern neighborhoods.

In Denver, traffic on Interstate 25 was slogging along at an average speed of 37 mph, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

8:30 a.m.: Light snow in Colorado Springs is falling and heavy snow is hitting Denver and more and more communities ask drivers to stay off the roads.

The latest is from Fort Collins where plow crews are having to rescue stranded drivers rather than clearing streets.

“Roads are treacherous: Please do not travel unless it’s an absolute emergency,” Fort Collins officials said on Twitter. “Our snow plow crews are helping many residents with travel issues, which diverts resources from snow removal of our city’s emergency routes. Please stay at home for everyone’s safety.”

8:15 a.m.: If you’re a fan of figure skating, you’ll love watching drivers hit the road this morning.

Lots of triple axels and double salchows are being accidentally completed on the roads, and wreckage is piling up on arterial streets from the Wyoming border to Pueblo.

“Please stay home and off the roads if you can,” Boulder police said in Twitter Sunday morning. “The roads are snow packed, slick and vehicles are getting stuck.”

8 a.m.: The Colorado Department of Transportation has invoked vehicle traction laws on Interstate 25 from Lonetree to Monument.

That means cars will need snow tires or chains to navigate the route.

Several Front Range agencies are asking drivers for the same thing: Stay home.

To keep up with Sunday’s closings and delays in the Pikes Peak region, visit https://gazette.com/closings/.

7:45 a.m.: Highway 6 was closed over snowbound Loveland Pass on Sunday morning. Other high country attractions shut down amid heavy snow.

“Due to winter storm conditions, Florissant Fossil Beds will be closed today,” the National Parks Service said on Twitter.

7:30 a.m.: Travel of every kind was difficult along the Front Range Sunday. More than 1,300 flights have been cancelled for Denver International Airport.

Truckers were required to chain up over Monument Hill at the Douglas County line and chains were required on many high country highways.

Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases in Colorado Springs were telling troops to stay home Sunday. More than 30 flights were cancelled Sunday at the Colorado Springs Airport.

Woodland Park snow

Just under a foot of snow had fallen in Woodland Park by early Sunday morning. (Nathan Van Dyne/The Gazette)

In Woodland Park, nearly a foot of snow had fallen.

7:15 a.m.: Churches around the Pikes Peak region were moving Sunday services online, allowing worshipers to avoid icy roads.

snow

Snow blankets a neighborhood near Downtown Colorado Springs (Tom Roeder/The Gazette)

Among those opting for online Services was First Presbyterian Church in downtown Colorado Springs.  

Temperatures along the Front Range were expected to hang near freezing amid Sunday’s snow, but hope was on the way.

Most communities can expect temperatures in the high 30s to mid-40s Monday and Tuesday before another, smaller storm rolls in Tuesday night.

Parker

Residents awoke to five inches or more of wet, heavy snow in Parker. (Dennis Huspeni/The Gazette)

7 a.m.: Plow crews were at work in Denver to clear icy roads, but officials warned getting streets cleaned up will take some time.

“Roads are snow covered and we’ll have our drivers on duty throughout the day to make consecutive passes and drop deicing material on the main streets, as needed,” Denver officials said in a news release. “We continue to ask residents not to drive if they don’t have to, given the challenging driving conditions. ”

To the south in Parker, residents awoke to more than five inches of wet snow blanketing neighborhoods. In Colorado Springs, wind gusts were causing snow drifts.

6:45 a.m.: Heavy snowfall over steep terrain has triggered an avalanche warning from state officials.

“Avalanches will be easy for backcountry travelers to trigger and can run naturally during periods of high intensity snowfall,” the Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned Saturday morning. “Backcountry travel is dangerous and not recommended. Avoid travel on or under all steep slopes.”

Snow continues

Weather Service

6:30 a.m.: Roads were like rinks around the front range and that had fire crews hopping.

In Colorado Springs passengers were pulled from a wrecked car on Academy Boulevard near Rebecca Lane just after 3 a.m., firefighters said.

The injured were taken to hospitals for treatment, firefighters said.

wreck

Colorado Springs firefighters pulled two people from a wrecked car on Academy Boulevard near Rebecca Lane early Sunday. (Colorado Springs Fire Department)

6:15 a.m.: Wind gusts of up to 20 mph were cutting visibility for Front Range drivers while a layer of ice underneath the snow made for troublesome traction.

In Colorado Springs, the plow crews advised people to spend the day on the couch.

“Travel could be difficult,” the city said in a news release. “If you must travel, keep a flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”

6 a.m.: Treacherous conditions have driven state officials to close several highways, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

Highways 24 and 94 were closed east of Colorado Springs and Interstate 70 was closed from Limon to Burlington.

I-25 was closed from Wellington to the Wyoming line.

Saturday’s winter storm roundup and updates

Statewide road and travel updates from CDOT

CDOT travel alerts

Denver International Airport: Flight status updates

Colorado Springs Airport: Flight status updates

Airlines are operating a limited number of flights today, with the majority of flights operating late this afternoon or early evening.

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