January 23, 2014 Updated: January 23, 2014 at 10:32 am
Most of Colorado Springs woke up to about three inches of snow and icy roads Thursday after a winter weather system swept down from the north, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow totals around the Colorado Springs Airport measured at three inches by 8 a.m., meteorologist Randy Gray said. Spotters in Peterson Air Force Base, Fountain and southern Colorado Springs reported three inches of snow accumulation also. About two inches fell over Black Forest, according to the weather service.
Even as dry conditions kept the snow fluffy, recent warm temperatures caused the snow to melt upon hitting the ground, freezing over and covering city roadways with ice.
"The snow really picked up intensity around 2 a.m. and then let up around 4 a.m., but it melted and then froze over because the temperatures were so low, covering the city with ice," said City Streets operations manager Dave Scalfri. "We have been using liquid anti-icing on the roads, which we found to be successful."
Schools in Falcon District 49 and Cheyenne Mountain District 12 were among the first to go on two-hour delays Thursday morning. Schools in the Academy 20, Colorado Springs 11 and Manitou Springs 14 districts also are on two-hour delays.
Up to 40 snow trucks and plows were active in a city-wide callout since midnight, Scalfri said, and will remain deployed until road and weather conditions improve.
"We are doubling and tripling over major traffic arteries and primary routes, especially for schools," Scalfri said. "We are making sure we maintain the progress we made since early morning."
The Colorado Department of Transportation had about 50 snow plows in El Paso County from Monument to Colorado Springs, spokeswoman Amy Ford said.
Temperatures across Colorado Springs and El Paso County probably won't get much higher than the upper teens, with 17 degress in the forecast for downtown, Gray said.
The good news is that the snow will begin to taper off into Thursday morning and early afternoon, with most of the forecast snowfall coming to an end by 11 a.m. and cloud cover beginning to break.
With an expected high of 55 degrees and mostly sunny skies in Colorado Springs for Friday, Gray said, the snow and ice won't have a chance to stick around.
Flights on Thursday morning in and out of Colorado Springs Airport were not affected by the snow.