Winter storm blanketing Steamboat |

Winter storm blanketing Steamboat

Brent Boyer

— Put your bikes away, Steamboat. Winter isn’t over yet.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for the mountains surrounding Steamboat. A winter weather advisory will impact the valley's lower elevations, including the city of Steamboat Springs.

Between 8 and 14 inches of snow could fall in Steamboat, with higher amounts in the northern part of the county, including Clark. The total storm accumulation could reach 8 to 16 inches at the Steamboat Ski Area. The storm will be accompanied by winds of 15 to 25 mph, and gusts as high as 40 and 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Low visibility can create dangerous driving conditions, particularly over mountain passes like Rabbit Ears Pass. The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that the chain law is in effect on Rabbit Ears Pass.

The snow also is being blamed for power outages in Hayden and Craig. A call to Yampa Valley Electric Association officials wasn’t immediately returned this morning, but a YVEA official told the Craig Daily Press that about 750 Craig homes were without power.

YVEA Operations Manager Bill Caynor said heavy, wet snow caused the outages and blinks.

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"We normally don't get this wet, heavy snow," Caynor said. "It seems like every time we get one taken care of, we get another call."

Caynor said the weight of the snow has forced power lines down to the ground or to slap together.

Tree limbs weighed down by snow have also fallen on the power lines.

However, if high winds come through the area as forecasted, Caynor said the gusts can clear the lines and trees of snow.

"We're just going to try to manage it the best we can until this lets up," Caynor said.

Four to 8 inches of snow is expected to fall in Craig.

The snow is expected to let up in time for Friday evening's "Hometown Heroes Celebration" in downtown Steamboat. The event will honor the 17 Winter Olympians with ties to Steamboat, including the medal-winning U.S. Nordic combined athletes.

The festivities begin with a meet and greet, and autograph session from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. A parade on snow-covered Lincoln Avenue begins at 6:30 p.m., with the more formal ceremony set to take place at 7 p.m.

Craig Daily Press reporter Nicole Inglis contributed to this report.

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