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Winter storm hits Colorado; cancellations, delays for schools in the Colorado Springs area

By: Lisa Walton and Matt Steiner
January 30, 2014 Updated: January 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm
Caption +
Cars drive along I25 near the Baptist Road exit as snow continues to fall across the Colorado Springs area. (Michael Ciaglo)

Snow began falling throughout the Pikes Peak region overnight Thursday into Friday morning -- part of back-to-back storm systems that are expected to hit the area with several inches throughout the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo is predicting that between three and six inches of new snow will fall through Saturday morning in Colorado Springs.

Monument can expect an addition four to eight inches of snow and southeast El Paso County between one and three inches in that same time period, the Weather Service said in a tweet.

An avalanche near Monarch Ski Area around 2 p.m. closed Highway 50 in the area, according to a Tweet from the Colorado State Patrol. Troopers are on scene assesing the situation. No initial injuries have been reported, according to a CSP Tweet.

Troy Stover, the operations manager at the city's airport, said Friday that 2 inches fell overnight from on and off light and heavy snowfall.

"We started snow removal about 10 p.m. (Thursday) and have been in snow removal all night long," Stover said. "Flights are moving pretty much on time. We’re seeing some minor delays for the deicing of aircraft but for the most part things are normal.”

A second system is expected to move into the Pikes Peak region Friday afternoon, bringing the possibility of another 2 to 4 inches of snow. A third system is forecast for Monday, according to the National Weather Service

Several school districts were delayed and Lewis-Palmer District 38, Manitou Springs District 14, canceled classes Friday because of the winter weather.

Delays are also reported at Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

Click here for up-to-the-minute closings and delays.

Much of Teller County, including Woodland Park, was reporting about 3 inches of snow overnight. A spokesperson with the Teller County Sheriff's Office said just before 8 a.m. that there were no major problems because of the weather, the plows were out doing there thing and it was "a normal mountain day."


Snow in Denver didn't meet predicted levels, but the same can't be said for the mountains, which did get 22 inches in Crested Butte, 18 inches in Aspen Mountain and 24 inches in Aspen Mountain.

Temperatures in the mountains on Friday will rise into the 20s and drop to the teens Friday night. Another 1 to 4 inches of snow could fall Friday.

Denver International Airport officials said more than 2 inches of snow hit the airport overnight and another 3 inches is expected by Saturday morning. By 7 a.m. Friday, the snow had "pushed east of DIA" and dry conditions were expected through late afternoon Friday.

The Denver airport had to cancel about 45 flights for Friday because of the weather. Passengers whose flights are still scheduled might experience some extra time on the tarmac for deicing, officials said.

A winter storm warning remains in effect Friday for the high country from Steamboat Springs to Aspen south to Telluride.

Preliminary snowfall reports on Friday include more than 2 feet in Leadville, 21 inches near Breckenridge, 19 near Dillon, 18 near Fraser and 16 near Frisco. The Front Range saw a range of 3 to 7 inches.

CBS Denver is reporting that no one was hurt in the Leadville roof building collapse. The building was vacant on Harrison Avenue and is now closed until engineers check buildings nearby, according to CBS Denver.

Thursday's high of 46 degrees is the warmest weather Colorado Springs residents will see until at least the middle of next week, according to National Weather forecasts. Friday's high is forecasted to be around 28 degrees.

January is typically a dryer month for the state and for the region, and this weekend's snowfall is slightly outside of what's normal, said Kathy Torgerson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"We're getting one storm after the other, but it's what we need at this time of the year," she said.

This weekend, Colorado Springs is forecasted to see only a small amount of what forecasters predict will be dumped in different areas across the state, and what has already fallen in the mountains.

Northeastern Colorado was under a winter warning from 5 p.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Up to 15 inches of snow was possible in Denver.

Multiple accidents shut down eastbound Interstate 70 from Vail around 5 p.m. Thursday and US 50 at Monarch Pass was closed Thursday about 7 p.m. due to adverse conditions, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A winter storm warning remained in effect Thursday through 5 a.m. Friday for the north and central mountains, which were pounded with snow Thursday.

They wouldn't be seeing too much of a break during this long-duration storm system, Torgerson said.

"A strong moist jet stream coming off the Pacific is shoving all this moisture into the mountains and the Continental Divide," she said.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported high avalanche warnings in the Front Range until 12:30 p.m. Friday.

When a significant amount of fresh snow falls over snow that has iced over from a cycle of warm and cold weather, it creates instability between the layers, Torgerson said.

On Thursday evening, an avalanche warning was issued for Pikes Peak. While snow was not expected to start falling until after 3 a.m., Fort Carson officials announced "Red status" weather conditions all day Friday. Only mission essential personnel were required to report to base before 9 a.m.

CDOT reported scattered snow showers and wet roads on Interstate 25 south of Denver to Pueblo Thursday evening. Icy spots were reported I-25 north of Denver. There were no closures or accidents reported as of 7 p.m.

The Associated Press and Denver Post contributed to this story.

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