On the Hill: Flakes are falling
November 16, 2005
A fast-moving, wind-driven storm Monday dumped more than a foot of snow on some Colorado ski areas.
Arapahoe Basin ski resort reported 14 inches of new snow, while Vail reported 13 and Copper Mountain 12. Loveland received 10 inches.
“We were definitely busier than usual for a Monday,” Loveland marketing director John Sellers said. “And once the snow starts falling in Denver, it will convert those last few remaining people who were still holding on to summer activities.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Dankers said 8 inches of snow fell in two to three hours Monday afternoon in Black Hawk, while other areas saw 6 to 7 inches during that time.
Grand Lake in the north-central mountains reported 16 inches of snow. Up to 2 feet of snow fell in portions of northern Rocky Mountains since the storm began late Saturday. About an inch fell in Denver on Monday night.
A 70-mile stretch of Interstate 70 reopened early Tuesday after being shut down for hours because of whiteout conditions and high winds.
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The highway was slushy and icy in spots but the sun was out along much of the route. No major weather-related crashes were reported on Interstate 70 Monday, according to the State Patrol.
“Things are starting to get better,” state Department of Transportation spokesman Gene Towne said.
U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass also reopened. Winds of up to 62 mph were reported there Monday. U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass remained closed.
At least 800 students in Frisco got home late Monday because the storm kept school buses off the road for hours. More than 200 stranded travelers took refuge in Red Cross shelters Monday while the interstate was closed.
Electricity was back on for all but about 30 customers in Summit County, said Tom Henley, a spokesman for Xcel Energy. Xcel initially estimated as many as 1,000 customers were without power there but later revised that to 200 or fewer.
In Denver, power was restored late Monday for 8,400 customers who were cut off because of storm-related problems, Henley said.
The avalanche danger in the central mountains is moderate below treeline and moderate with pockets of considerable near and above treeline, particularly on northwestern, northeastern and eastern aspects.
Backcountry travel is going to require some careful detective work to figure out what is going on in the snowpack and how dangerous it is. The weight of a person may be sufficient to trigger an avalanche. This can be assessed by using a variety of stability tests and testing lots of spots. Do not let good results in one area lull you into a weaker area.