Friday's snow will make for wintry weekend around Colorado Springs and beyond

By Lisa Walton, lisa.walton@gazette.com - Updated: February 1, 2014 at 6:59 am • Published: January 31, 2014 | 10:55 pm 0
photo - Colorado Springs police officer D. Peters retrieves personal items from a car involved in a single vehicle rollover crash Friday morning, January 31, 2014 on southbound I-25 just south of Cimarron. The driver of the car was wearing her seatbelt and was uninjured in the crash that slowed traffic on I-25 for about an hour Friday. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Colorado Springs police officer D. Peters retrieves personal items from a car involved in a single vehicle rollover crash Friday morning, January 31, 2014 on southbound I-25 just south of Cimarron. The driver of the car was wearing her seatbelt and was uninjured in the crash that slowed traffic on I-25 for about an hour Friday. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

A winter storm pounded Colorado on Friday, dumping heavy snow across the state that hampered travel in Colorado Springs, caused power outages in Denver, triggered avalanches in the high county and caused the cancellation of more than 170 flights at Denver International Airport.

And it's not quite over yet.

Slick, snowpacked roads are expected to remain for the next 24 to 48 hours in some parts of the state, including Colorado Springs, though snowfall was expected to taper off by early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Click here for current cancellations and closures.

About 4 inches of snow was reported in Colorado Springs by late afternoon Friday, and the National Weather Service in Pueblo said the city could expect between 3 and 6 inches of new snow through Saturday morning.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 5 p.m. Saturday for El Paso and Teller counties.

The advisory includes the Wet mountains and the Sangre de Cristo mountains southwest and west of Colorado Springs.

The Motor Vehicle Office at Union Town Center announced it would be closed Saturday.

Colorado Technical University canceled Saturday classes, and Schriever Air Force Base reported a two-hour delay Saturday for nonessential personnel.

For many Colorado Springs residents, the Friday afternoon commute might have been the most challenging part of the storm. Many drivers waited in long lines of traffic that slowly navigated over icy, wet roads.

The icy conditions slowed commuters on Interstate 25 causing major congestion between Woodmen Road south to Fontanero Street, police said, and a multiple-vehicle crash near Garden of the Gods Road and southbound I-25 snarled traffic until about 4 p.m.

Another earlier crash involving a semitruck and five cars was reported about 1:40 p.m. on northbound I-25 near Fontanero Street.

Between midnight and 4 p.m. Friday, Springs police received more than 80 traffic-related calls for service, and the number was growing as slush turned to ice Friday night.

In higher elevations, avalanche warnings remained in effect through Saturday morning for Gunnison, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Aspen.

An avalanche near Monarch Ski Area, which received about 20 inches of snow between Thursday and Friday, shut down U.S. 50 Friday afternoon, but it was reopened late Friday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed Interstate 70 west at Empire late Friday night and closed Loveland and Berthoud passes earlier in the day.

Heavy snow was expected to continue across the mountains into Saturday, with the heaviest snow falling along the Continental Divide. .

Preliminary snowfall reports on Friday include more than 2 feet in Leadville, 21 inches near Breckenridge, and 19 near Dillon, 18 near Fraser. The Front Range saw a range of 3 to 7 inches.

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Gazette reporter Matt Steiner and the Associated Press contributed to this story

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