Rocky Mountains welcome winter as storm wraps region in first blast of snow
An October snowstorm delivered the first real winter blast to the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas Saturday into Sunday morning.
As a result, the National Weather Service spent much of the day Sunday warning northeast and north-central Colorado of hazardous weather conditions, as the overnight storm continued dumping on the region well into the day.
The heavy snowfall fouled up interstate traffic and shut down Interstate 25 at the Colorado-Wyoming state line for nearly 11 hours Saturday night until Sunday morning, according to the Associated Press.
The AP also reported temporary closures on major highways in Wyoming and Colorado, including Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 287, U.S. Highway 85 and U.S. Highway 87 due to the storm.
Depending on the elevation, the storm left anywhere from a few inches to much higher accumulations locally. It didn’t stick to most roads but made for slushy driving conditions.
In Summit County, eastbound Interstate 70 was closed for a couple of hours Sunday morning shortly after exit 203, between Frisco and Silverthorne, following a wreck involving an overturned semi trailer. The closure didn’t last long and traffic resumed, albeit excruciatingly slow. Additionally, Dillon Dam Road connecting Dillon and Frisco was closed due to white-out conditions.
The heaviest snow fell from Boulder through Wyoming to Montana’s Beartooth Mountains, according to the AP.
The National Weather Service reported accumulations between 3 and 13 inches south of Sheridan, Wyoming, overnight early Sunday morning, while about 3 inches had fallen in Denver, where the temperature plummeted from 60 degrees Saturday to just 20 degrees Sunday.
The snow was expected to continue in some parts of the mountains through this morning, including as much as a foot forecast for Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs, while the overall region saw diminishing snowfall in afternoon and evening hours Sunday with clearing skies overnight.
The coming days should bring mostly dry conditions, according to NWS forecasters, who believe temperatures will slowly begin to warm with readings pushing back to normal levels by the end of the week.
In terms of skiing, Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado nabbed bragging rights last weekend by becoming the first Colorado ski resort to open for the 2018-19 ski season. In Summit County, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, which often owns that designation, could only tip its cap to the competitor.
As the nearby ski resorts celebrated Sunday’s precipitation in Summit County, a video posted on Keystone Resort’s Facebook page showing someone in mittens carving hearts in snow piled up on a car windshield was watched thousands of times.
Many people are hoping that, with October’s snowfall, A-Basin and Loveland Ski Area could be up and running soon, as both have targeted opening dates in mid-to-late October.
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