Weather service: Snow a blessing in disguise

By Andrea Sinclair Published: May 9, 2013 | 6:45 pm 0

Heavy snowfall Thursday morning caused school delays, a power outage and a tough commute for Woodland Park residents, but weather analysts said it was a blessing in disguise.

National Weather Service forecaster Patrick Cioffi said parts of Teller County county saw a foot of snow. If that had been rain, Cioffi said, flash flooding would have been a dangerous certainty.

At 6 p.m., forecasters downgraded a flood watch in place for the Waldo Canyon burn scar to a flood advisory, a move that indicated the worst conditions had passed, for now.

The area isn't out of the woods, though.

'That much water is up there ready to melt, ' said

the weather service's Randy Gray.

But with temperatures expected to hang in the 40s over the high country Friday, a slow melt is anticipated.

Snow and power outages forced the Woodland Park School District to cancel Thursday classes.

The center of the Waldo Canyon burn scar got slightly more than 8 inches of snow by Thursday morning.

'That area really needs moisture and that's the way to get it, ' Cioffi said.

But any moisture on the scar, where fire-blackened soil doesn't absorb water, prompts significant concern in the Pikes Peak region. Several agencies, including the Weather Service had workers surveying the burn area and waterways for signs of flooding once the storm rolled in Wednesday.

The precipitation was likely responsible for a rock slide on Highway 24 Thursday morning near Cave of the Winds that briefly blocked westbound lanes.

More rain could hit the region Friday, with a 30 percent chance of showers in most of the area. But rainfall is expected to be light, with less than a tenth of an inch in the forecast.

Highs could hit the 70s by Sunday, forecasters predict.

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