Colorado weather: Blizzard shuts down many eastern Colorado roads, dumps snow on mountain towns

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Making snow on Aspen Mountain, Nov. 11, 2022. The resort is scheduled to open on November 24.

UPDATE: 12/14/2022 6:30 a.m.

Road conditions in eastern Colorado improved Wednesday morning. Interstate 70 east of Denver International Airport to Kansas reopened. But several other major roads and highways are still closed in the eastern part of the state due to poor visibility and icy roads. The mountains also had winter driving conditions Wednesday.

Conditions should improve through Wednesday in the Plains while the mountains will see light snow, according to the National Weather Service.

A large winter storm system strengthened over the Eastern Plains early Tuesday, disrupting travel in the region and closing more than a dozen school districts.

A stretch of I-70 from Airpark Road east of Denver to the Kansas state line was shut down due to blizzard conditions. Transportation officials also closed stretches of I-76 and US 6 between Brush and the Nebraska state line, along with more than a dozen other roadways.

As of 7 a.m., airlines had canceled over 50 flights out of Denver International Airport due to the weather, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. More delays are likely as the storm moves further east and disrupts air travel in other states.

Snow totals range. But the National Weather Service forecasts up to 11 inches of accumulation for many Eastern Plains communities, including Fort Morgan and Wiggins, by the end of the day Tuesday. 

Wind gusts could reach up to 60 miles per hour during the day, causing whiteout conditions on roadways. The NWS said travel is not recommended and could be dangerous. The storm is expected to last through Wednesday morning, with strong winds and freezing temperatures expected to stick around the plains through mid-week. 

In many mountain communities, the storm dumped a healthy layer of powder overnight Monday. Light snow is expected to continue through mid-week at higher elevations, leaving between 6 to 10 inches around Vail Pass. 

Steamboat Springs reported over a foot of snow during the storm so far. 

Avalanche conditions in Northern Colorado have worsened due to the weather. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned against backcountry recreation for the Park and Elkhead Ranges in Routt County, as well as Rocky Mountain National Park and the Medicine Bow Ranges through at least Wednesday. 

Denver and other Front Range communities largely missed out on the brunt of the storm. But temperatures plunged to around freezing overnight Tuesday in metro Denver and Colorado Springs.

Highs along the Front Range are expected to stick around freezing through at least Friday.