Wednesday’s Blizzard: What We Know, How It Looked

Pedestrians, 14th Street in Denvetr
<p>(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)</p>
<p>Pedestrians cross 14th Street just south of the State Capitol on March 23, 2016.</p>

Posted 7 p.m. | Updated 9:50 a.m.

A winter storm that dumped almost 2 feet of snow on parts of metro Denver and along the Front Range Wednesday closed schools, roads and Denver International Airport. Power was knocked out for nearly 300,000.

Some school districts remain closed Thursday, including Denver Public Schools, Adams 12 Five-Star and District 14, Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek School District and Westminster Public Schools.


The chart below shows where the most snow fell as of Wednesday afternoon -- the northern suburbs, and parts of Boulder County, felt the brunt of the storm.

Chart: Highest snow 3 p.m. 3.23.16
Snow totals are sometimes measured in multiple sites in the same city; Broomfield appeared twice on the list for highest snow totals, but only its highest total is listed here.


There were major headaches at DIA, which closed for about seven hours. About 1,300 flights were canceled. Pena Boulevard was forced to close. Hundreds of passengers were stranded. By 7 p.m., operations resumed on two of the six runways are open, and the airport was running fully on Thursday morning -- though officials said to expect it to be "very busy." The airport has closed a handful of times because of snow, in 2001, 2003 and 2006.


The Interstate system is opening back up -- for a time Wednesday, long stretches were closed, including through Denver. There are chain restrictions on some stretches through the mountains. Shailen Bhatt, executive director of Colorado's highway department, says all 100 of the snow plows that serve Denver were scheduled to work overnight overnight into Thursday. The blizzard caused so many accidents Wednesday that Bhatt said it was hard to keep count.


RTD suspended all regional, mountain, US 36 corridor and SkyRide services due to road closures Wednesday afternoon. But by evening, all the bus routes except SkyRide were operational again. As of Thursday morning, RTD reported slight delays for buses but said light rail lines were on schedule.


The storm knocked out power to about 290,000 Xcel Energy customers across the metro area. The utility says it has about 600 employees working on restoration, and crews are coming in from New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas Thursday to boost the number of workers to 800.

On Thursday morning, spokesman Mark Stutz said service has been restored to all but 26,000 customers -- and most of those should be reconnected by the end of the day. He asked for patience and understanding from those still waiting.

"I don't know if this is unprecedented, but it's certainly close," Stutz said of size of the outages.


The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports considerable backcountry danger today and tomorrow along the Front Range peaks, areas around Vail and Summit County, Gunnison County, Grand Mesa, and the Steamboat and Flat Tops areas. Be conservative in route finding and decision making in those areas, where up 20 inches of snow has fallen.

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On Twitter

The #denverblizzard hashtag started trending on Twitter late Wednesday. Here's some of our favorite images: