Storm hampers travel across Colorado
December 27, 2007
DENVER ” The second winter storm in two days moved across Colorado Thursday, making travel difficult in the metro area and plains and canceling some flights at Denver International Airport.
Nearly 7 inches of snow fell west of Denver by Thursday afternoon and the latest round of snow helped make this December the 10th snowiest in the Mile High City with 16.7 inches. A winter storm warning remained in effect through 11 p.m.
Denver also set a record for the snowiest Christmas Day with the nearly 8 inches that fell on Tuesday.
The storm led United Airlines, the largest carrier at Denver International Airport, to cancel 145 flights into and out of Denver, about 17 percent of the scheduled flights there. The airline wanted to avoid having planes stranded in Denver, its second-largest hub.
“There will be impacts in other parts of the system and we’re doing our best to accommodate everyone,” United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.
Frontier Airlines canceled six flights and others were delayed as crews worked to deice planes, spokesman Steve Snyder said.
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One person aboard a Greyhound bus was transported by ambulance to a hospital with minor injuries after an accident with an SUV on Interstate 70 near Genesee, about 10 miles west of Denver, Colorado State Patrol Master Trooper Ron Watkins said. The bus was carrying 52 passengers, said Eric Wesley, a spokesman for the bus line.
It was unclear how the person was injured.
Three people in the SUV were also taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Watkins said.
Initial reports indicated there were no injuries. Watkins could provide no additional details, including whether snow was a factor.
The storm brought high winds and blowing snow to parts of the northeastern Plains and an accident involving a tractor-trailer closed U.S. Highway 36 in both directions between Idalia and Cope.
In the mountains, a train carrying calcium oxide derailed in Bond, spilling the chemical on the ground and on the ice pack of the Colorado River. The chemical is used to make fertilizer and insecticides and residents were warned that it could cause them eye and skin irritation but weren’t forced to evacuate, Eagle County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Andree said.
It was snowing at the time but it’s not known yet if the weather contributed to the accident, which will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
In western Colorado, the highest accumulations were on the Grand Mesa and in the western San Juan Mountains. Snowfall of 13.5 inches was reported at a spot along U.S. Highway 550 between Ouray and Red Mountain Pass, said Jim Pringle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
He said another storm which will move into the area starting Friday and linger through Sunday should deliver significant accumulations to more areas in western Colorado.