Steamboat Springs Wednesday's potent storm slammed Steamboat Springs with up to 2 feet of snow in some areas of the city, left many residents in the dark as power outages plagued Routt County and was to blame for many traffic accidents.
The storm system, which surprised National Weather Service meteorologists with its intensity and duration, left behind more than a foot of snow in numerous Yampa Valley towns, including Oak Creek, Hayden and Steamboat.
Official measurements ranged from 15 inches of snow in Hayden to 20 inches of snow one mile south of Steamboat. Surrounding mountains received up to 4 feet of snow, according to National Weather Service hydrologist Brian Avery.
The storm largely missed other ski towns; Aspen got just 1 inch of snow.
The heavy snowfall totals brought the Colorado River Basin snowpack level to 100 percent, Avery said.
The heavy spring snow brought down trees and power lines throughout the county, and Yampa Valley Electric Association crews worked long hours Wednesday and Thursday to restore power to pockets of the region still in the dark.
"This storm has wreaked havoc on us," Yampa Valley Electric Association spokesman Jim Chappell said.
The electric company didn't know how many residents were without power Thursday morning, but power was restored in all areas of Routt County by Thursday afternoon, Chappell said.
Most of the outages were caused by heavy snow falling from low power lines, causing the lower lines to bounce up and smack the upper lines. The contact between the power lines caused power failures, Chappell said.
Yampa Valley Electric crews worked round the clock to restore power and downed lines, Chappell said. But with the high volume of work, the crews were quickly stretched thin.
"We had crews that worked in excess of 30 hours without sleep and in some cases without food," Chappell said. "They did a remarkable job. I just can't say enough about the crews we have."
YVEA hired contract crews to help ease the workload. Even the electric company's general manager worked on power lines, Chappell said.
"I know the public was frustrated, but our crews were out working diligently to restore power," Chappell said.
Weather forecasts indicate a warming trend over the weekend and into next week, when thunderstorms and rain could hit the area, Avery said.
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