Strong winds buffet the valley
GLENWOOD SPRINGS A 92 mph gust of wind blasted the Eagle County Airport around 10 a.m. Wednesday.It wasn’t a problem for airplanes on the relatively slow day at the airport because wind blew parallel to the runway. Winds can actually help planes take off, air traffic control chief Lee Weatherbee said. If it were a cross-wind, there’s no way planes would come in. There was no damage or problems caused by the powerful gust, he added.The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport was closed Wednesday and unaffected by the weather; it reopens Thursday after a runway resurfacing project.Wind in Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area huffed and puffed on and off throughout the day Wednesday along with scattered, sometimes heavy, rain showers. The National Weather Service (NWS) had predicted gusts of around 50 mph in a forecast area covering Glenwood, Carbondale and Eagle. Some trees and limbs were displaced, but there was little reported in the way of significant damage by Wednesday evening.The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park closed its trams due to the wind and used buses to transport people instead. Also, the conditions made for a chilly opening night for Summer of Jazz at Two Rivers Park on Wednesday evening, with many spectactors wearing jackets and hats.The Colorado Department of Transportation had to replace some orange barrels and about three temporary signs that had been blown down east of Glenwood, associated with the Interstate 70 detour at the Hanging Lake Tunnel in Glenwood Canyon. CDOT said they were quickly righted and anchored and did not cause any traffic problems.A large tree toppled in Redstone, crushing part of a small fence and blocking Redstone Boulevard.Thunder and rain storms building throughout the day created downdrafts that helped pull down winds from a 120 mph jetstream high above, according to NWS meteorologist Jeff Colton. The jetstream was flowing on a course approximately from Lake Powell to Steamboat Springs. A cold front that had mostly passed through by the afternoon was also a factor. The strongest winds came at the head of the front in the morning on Wednesday.”When we get these cold fronts coming through, this is what we get,” Colton said.Anything over 58 mph is considered severe wind. A red flag warning was issued indicating that the level of fire danger was very high due to strong winds. Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper said it was the third one issued this year.
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The extended ski season at Snowmass Ski Area comes to a close April 25 after a bonus week of shredding that includes beer-sliding shenanigans, free parking and lots of still-skiable terrain.