Storm brings snow, but not that much |

Storm brings snow, but not that much

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

A spring storm swept across southern Colorado Friday and headed northeast, dropping snow and some rain but packing less punch than forecasters had expected.

“It’s not too bad right now,” said Guy Cassazant, manager of the fuel desk at the Rocky Mountain Travel Center truck stop north of Pueblo, about 100 miles south of Denver.

“We’re getting the moisture but it’s not too bad,” he said.

Most of southeastern Colorado was under a winter storm warning, with 4 to 7 inches of snow forecast ” far less than the 18 inches that some parts of the state had been expecting.

The National Weather Service had warned that winds up to 25 mph could cause snowdrifts and reduce visibility in eastern Colorado Friday, especially along Interstate 70, the state’s main east-west thoroughfare.

On Friday morning, the National Weather Service warned that a strong spring storm moving across southern Colorado would produce widespread snow, with moderate to heavy snow expected. The heaviest snowfall is expected along the eastern slopes of the southeast mountains of Colorado and the plains, generally south of Highway 50.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, the San Juan Mountains and the upper Rio Grande Valley and the southern San Luis Valley.

Slush and snow were reported near the Colorado-New Mexico border on Interstate 25, the main north-south route linking the state’s biggest cities, on Friday. Some mountain highways had icy and snowy spots, but no roads had closed because of the weather.

Denver International Airport, which suffered a 45-hour runway closure during a December blizzard, had prepared for the worst, lining up crews and equipment. United Airlines, the dominant carrier at DIA, canceled 120 flights ahead of the storm but had returned to normal by Friday morning.

“I think our operation is pretty much at full speed at this point,” United spokesman Jeff Kovick said.

Kovick said the airline consults with its own forecasters and local officials before deciding whether to pre-emptively cancel flights.

“It’s impossible to go back and second-guess because it could very easily go the other way next time,” he said.

The storm was initially expected to bring a second dumping of snow to western Colorado ski resorts, but mostly missed the central mountains.

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, which close on Sunday, received no new snow out of the latest system after picking up some fresh snow early in the week. Vail and Copper Mountain both reported an inch of new snow on Friday morning. Keystone picked up 2 inches.

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