Colorado gets winter in west, winds in east
October 6, 2011
DENVER – Forecasters warned of wintry weather over western Colorado on Thursday, while gusty winds buffeted the eastern side of the state. Up to for inches of snow fell on Aspen-area ski slopes, the Aspen Skiing Co. said.
Western Colorado was under a patchwork of advisories, including a freeze warning in the northwest and southwest corners and winter storm warnings or winter advisories in between.
Snow was falling Thursday in the central Colorado mountains and at the Copper Mountain ski area, which started making snow for the season Wednesday night. The Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski areas started their snow guns Thursday.
“We are starting a little bit later than previous years, but we are still optimistic that cold temperatures will allow our crew to be very productive and keep us on track for our typical October opening,” Loveland spokesman John Sellers said. Last year, Loveland opened for the season Oct. 24 with one run and an 18-inch base.
The National Weather Service said a foot of snow could fall in some areas above 9,000 feet.
On the plains, high winds and poor visibility from dust prompted officials in Colorado to close both directions of a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between Burlington and the Kansas border for about three hours Thursday, and Kansas officials closed about 55 miles of westbound I-70 from Colby to the Colorado line. The highway was fully open by Thursday evening.
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Forecasters said winds gusting up to 60 miles an hour were expected on the Eastern Plains.
State health officials warned that significant blowing dust could cause problems for the elderly, young children and people with breathing problems.
In downtown Denver, wind toppled a light pole near 17th and California streets onto lines that provide electricity for the light rail, causing some delays. Train service was restored within an hour.