Storm Buries Colorado Mountains under 18 Inches of Snow, Blizzard

October 27, 2006

A powerful snowstorm dumped 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow in parts of the Colorado mountains and spread eastward Thursday, snarling traffic and shutting down dozens of school districts.

A 125-mile (201-kilometer) corridor from Colorado Springs to the New Mexico border was under a blizzard warning.

The storm left wet and slushy highways in cities from Pueblo to Colorado Springs and Denver to Fort Collins, and up to 80 outbound flights were canceled Thursday at Denver International Airport.

On Colorado’s wide-open Eastern Plains, residents and emergency managers braced for blowing snow and wind forecast to reach up to 45 mph (72 kph).

Avalanche experts said recent storms have left a snowpack of up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) in the mountains and several avalanches have already been reported, including 10 in the past week on he east side of Ten Mile Range in Summit County. A recent snowfall did not bond well with the snow surface from a late-September storm, creating ripe conditions for avalanches, said Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Scott Toepfer.

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