Hundreds Of Drivers Were Stranded By The Bomb Cyclone. Here’s One Couple’s Story

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<p>Hart Van Denburg/CPR News</p>
<p>A motorist stuck at an intersection on Potomac Street in Aurora.</p>
Photo: Bomb Cyclone 12 | Car Stuck In Intersection
A motorist stuck at an intersection on Potomac Street in Aurora.

How do you spend more than 13 hours stranded in a car during a major storm that came complete with the cool name "bomb cyclone"?

For Juli Winter, the Great American Songbook was one way to pass the time.

"I sang 'Oklahoma!' music, I sang 'Brigadoon,' I sang 'Sound of Music,'" Winter said, laughing.

Juli Winter and her husband, Perry, were stuck on U.S. 24 in El Paso County during Wednesday's historic blizzard. The couple was driving home to Kansas from Manitou Springs when visibility dropped to zero and they slammed into the back of a box truck around 11:30 a.m.

Luckily, the Winters always travel with blankets, water and snacks in tow. So when Colorado State Patrol told Winter not to expect rescue until Thursday morning, the couple layered on the clothes and hunkered down.

"While it was still light, my husband and I both read. Did some talking, and did lots of praying," Winter said.

Photo: Juli Winter Bomb Cyclone Car
Juli Winter's car after it was towed to Colorado Springs.

The wind was so strong that a few gusts moved their car.

"Craziest thing I ever experienced," Winter said.

Around midnight, their rescue came not from the State Patrol or National Guard, but a good Samaritan with a tow truck who towed them to Colorado Springs. Winter was excited to be reunited with her grown children at home.

"Just thinking, 'Man, the sooner I get home and hug my babies the better I’ll be,'" Winter said.

The Colorado National Guard has been busy. Soldiers have rescued 93 people -- and two dogs -- in stranded cars since Wednesday night, and rescue efforts are ongoing. About 50 soldiers are deployed to four Front Range counties: Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and El Paso.

National Guard spokesperson Elena O'Bryan said soldiers are going car to car, checking for people. The agency is using specialty vehicles to reach stranded drivers, one of which "basically floats on top of the snow," O'Bryan said.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to remove an error provided by the Colorado National Guard. It was originally reported that the National Guard is the only state agency that has the tracked vehicles that float on top of the snow. The National Guard later learned that local crews in Douglas County, Colorado Springs and Castle Rock also use them for winter rescues.