A major winter storm has parked itself over the Front Range and eastern plains. By the time it ends tomorrow morning, it will bring 1-2 feet of snow to the metro area and even more to the foothills and the eastern plains. The system is also creating avalanche conditions in the high country.
So far, Denver has received more than 11 inches of snow. Some of the biggest totals are in the foothills west of Boulder. Jamestown has already had 31 inches, while Coal Creek Canyon has received 34 inches. The snow is falling at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour in places south and east of the metro area.
“It’s a slow-moving storm, and we are getting a lot of that wrap around precipitation,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina. “It’s kind of lingering.”
Almost 600 flights were canceled at Denver International Airport today. Airlines were allowing travelers to change their flights without an extra fee. Interstate 70 is closed from Denver to the Kansas border. That stretch of I-70 is under a blizzard warning. The Colorado State Patrol recommends avoiding travel if possible and allowing twice as much time as usual if travel is necessary.
“People believe that four-wheel drive will enable them to get anywhere they need to go," said Trooper Josh Lewis, "and while it will help them to go, it won’t help them stop considering the slushy and icy conditions on the roadway."
The Colorado Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for east of the Continental Divide. The 1-2 feet of snow expected there will create “very dangerous avalanche conditions,” according to the warning. The snow is expected to overwhelm a weak snowpack, making natural and human-triggered avalanches likely today.