Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado Springs escapes storm's brunt; several area schools on delay Monday morning

By Andrea Sinclair Updated: May 12, 2014 at 8:11 am 0

Video: Colorado Springs was under a winter weather advisory Sunday. Here's a short video of the snow.

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Much of Colorado woke up to a winter wonderland Monday after a snow storm that hammered state Sunday shut major highways for hours, contributed to a fatal crash and dropped more than a foot of snow in some places.

Several schools in the Pikes Peak region are on a two-hour delay Monday, including the Falcon 49, Lewis-Palmer 38 and Academy 20 districts.

Woodland Park schools called off classes for the day.

Sunday's snow storm left parts of Woodland Park with more than a foot on the ground. Roads were snowpacked and icy Monday morning as steady snow continued to fall shortly before 8 a.m.

For weather-related delays and cancellations, click here.

Click here for the latest local traffic updates.

The heavy, wet snow was still falling in the Denver area Monday morning but isn't sticking much to streets. Driving conditions are more difficult in the mountains.

About two dozen flights have been cancelled at Denver International Airport and delays are expected as planes deice.

The cold temperatures and some scattered snow showers could linger into Tuesday.

The storm prompted a freeze warning and a winter weather advisory for northern El Paso County and Teller County by the National Weather Service in Pueblo that is set to expire early Monday.

Although the brunt of the storm hit Teller County and elsewhere in Colorado, weather observers reported up to two inches of snow in northern Colorado Springs and three inches in Black Forest by Sunday evening, according to the weather service. The Colorado Springs Airport, said meteorologist Pamela Evenson, reported only trace amounts of snow.

In Teller County, up to 8 inches of snow accumulated in Woodland Park and Florissant and in Lake County, Leadville also got 8 inches, the weather service stated. Further north, 9 inches were measured in Boulder County and nearly 12 inches fell near Longmont. The highest snowfall totals reported Sunday were 19 inches near the Colorado/Wyoming border south of Laramie and 18 inches at Red Feather Lakes, the weather service said.

More than an inch of snow had accumulated near Fairplay about 10:30 a.m. when Colorado State Patrol Trooper Eric Zachareas arrived at the scene of a head-on crash on U.S. 285 that killed 55-year-old John Wacker of Gunnison.

"The crash was definitely caused by the road conditions and the fact that both parties were driving too fast," Zachareas said. "It was snowing and the roads were wet and slick, for sure."

The other driver, Christopher Fesmire, 35, of Hartsel, was not injured, the patrol said.

The crash closed Highway 285 for more than six hours.

Zachareas said troopers responded to numerous crashes throughout Sunday.

"The storm isn't supposed to end until tomorrow and roads will probably be icy in the morning, so drivers really need to use caution, especially during the morning's commute to work," Zachareas said.

The rough winter conditions kept business slow at Bierkwerks Brewery on Midland Avenue and U.S. 24 in Woodland Park.

"It's been extremely dead today, to put it mildly. The snow was heaviest around 1 p.m., it was pretty much a whiteout with the winds blowing and everything," said Bierwerks server Krystal Luna. "It's been flurrying the rest of the afternoon and the roads are pretty wet, but everyone is driving normal."

The strong spring storm was expected to continue moving through eastern Colorado on Monday with widespread areas of rain and snow over the region, the weather service said,

Snow started falling in El Paso County Sunday morning and could linger until Monday night, with temperatures are expected to drop about 20 degrees below average for this time of the year on Tuesday, Evenson said.

The temperature drop wasn't expected to break any records, but with an average of 68 degrees on May 12, the difference would be noticed, Evenson said.

"Everyone really needs to protect their plants overnight," the meteorologist said. "Temperatures could drop from the low 20s to the mid teens Sunday and Monday nights, especially in the Monument Hill area."

According to Evenson, the worst of the storm was expected to end around midnight on Sunday, but another inch or two could fall over most of El Paso County Monday, especially north of Colorado Springs.

In Colorado Springs, police went on cold reporting status because of deteriorating road conditions by late afternoon. Heavy wet snow covered some traffic signals and lights as police urged drivers to use caution at intersections.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Department of Transportation temporarily closed various portions of Interstate 70 throughout Sunday because of crashes and poor visibility, and enacted chain laws on many mountainous roads, including Colorado 91 over Fremont Pass, eastbound I-70 at Vail and westbound at Eisenhower Tunnel, and both directions of Colorado 67 near Cripple Creek. The chain law requires all commercial vehicles to use chains.

Although some people were surprised by the Mother's Day storm, the weather service said it's not too late for snow. The latest recorded snowfall in Colorado Springs was 1.1 inches on June 10, 1975. And in May 1978, the city got a total of 19.4 inches of snow.

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RELATED CONTENT

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