Spring storm hits Colorado, bringing snow to Aspen
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – A powerful spring storm dropped snow, sleet and rain across much of Colorado on Friday, spawning tornadoes and snarling traffic. In the mountains surrounding Aspen, 10 to 20 inches of snow are possible, according to the National Weather Service.
The Aspen Skiing Co. reported 7 inches of new snow fell overnight Thursday on Aspen Mountain, which opens for two final days of skiing on Saturday and Sunday. The weather service is calling for 10 to 20 inches in the Elk Mountains surrounding Aspen by noon on Saturday, when a winter storm warning is set to expire.
In town, snow fell periodically Friday, but little accumulated on the ground. The weather service was calling for 2 to 4 inches of additional snow in Aspen Friday and 2 to 4 inches Friday night. Rain and snow showers are expected Saturday, with snow falling above 8,000 feet.
Elsewhere in Colorado, more than a half-dozen tornado sightings were reported across the eastern plains. Residents were breathing a sigh of relief that there appeared to be no damage or injuries.
“The tornados were far enough away that we didn’t get the real bad wind but close enough to frighten me,” Fort Lyon resident Edith Wilson told the Pueblo Chieftain.
The storm caused the closure of courthouses in Elbert and Douglas counties, and Douglas County schools closed early. Minor league and college baseball games in the Colorado Springs area were postponed. Southbound I-25 south of Denver to Monument Hill was closed for several hours.
Rescuers used a tracked vehicle to rescue two campers stranded north of Woodland Park. El Paso County authorities said the pair was safe but stranded in a vehicle as 2 feet of snow left a road to their campsite impassable.
John Noll, spokesman for El Paso County search and rescue, told The Gazette newspaper that five more campers near Woodland Park were rescued, while others got out before the storm kicked up.
“The weather service did a good job on this one,” Noll said. “Most people are hunkered down today.”
Although the low-pressure system causing the storms was drifting east toward Kansas, up to a half-foot of snow was forecast overnight for the mountains west of Colorado Springs.
Water levels in several creeks and rivers in the Denver area were close to overflowing. A flood warning was issued for the South Platte River north of Denver.
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