Colorado sees flood warnings, snow
August 17, 2008
DENVER ” Heavy rains prompted flood watches and warnings in Colorado’s foothills, along the Front Range and on the eastern plains Saturday, while snow temporarily closed Loveland Pass in the mountains west of Denver.
Chilly temperatures were predicted to last through the weekend. The high of 58 degrees Saturday at Denver International Airport was the lowest on record for Aug. 16, the National Weather Service said. The previous record was 63 degrees, in 1890.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for the Arkansas River in La Junta and the Purgatoire River near Las Animas in southeastern Colorado, where heavy rains over the last two days caused the rivers to swell.
In Colorado Springs, traffic was blocked on at least one road over concerns from an overflowing, nearby holding pond. Eight people were asked to evacuate four condos above a retaining wall because a buried gas line could be damaged if the wall gives way, Fire Department spokesman Lt. Carl Lyman said.
In the mountains, the Colorado Department of Transportation closed Loveland Pass for a couple hours Saturday morning because of snow and ice and required chains on commercial vehicles on the westbound approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel.
At Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road was closed due to weather conditions. Howard Marco in the park’s information office said at least half a foot of snow had accumulated on the road, which reaches altitudes of more than 12,000 feet and is billed as the highest continuous paved road in the country.
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Elsewhere there were trace amounts of snow in the mountains overnight, said Chris Cuoco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. He said more precipitation could fall.
“This storm is going to be fairly slow moving out,” Cuoco said.
The cause was a low-pressure system that moved south from Wyoming into northwestern Colorado.
The rain was expected to continue across northeast Colorado through Sunday morning, spurring warnings that small rivers and streams could overflow their banks.