Saturday, November 22, 2003
A major winter storm pounded Steamboat Springs and surrounding areas with snow and gusty winds Friday night and Saturday.
The National Weather Service upgraded its winter storm watch for the northwest Colorado area to a winter storm warning once the system moved into the area Friday evening. That warning was scheduled to stay in effect until late Saturday evening.
Between 8 and 16 inches of snow was expected for Steamboat Springs and outlying areas by midnight Saturday, when the storm was expected to taper off, meteorologist Chris Cuoco said. At least 10 inches of snow were reported in areas throughout the city by Saturday afternoon.
A total of 10 to 20 inches of snow was predicted for higher elevations, where snow was expected to continue to fall overnight Saturday and into Sunday.
The snow is great news for winter sports enthusiasts, particularly with the Steamboat Ski Area scheduled to open Wednesday. The ski area reported 48 inches of snow through Friday afternoon, but that total probably will jump to more than 60 inches after the weekend dump.
The storm brought more of a mixed reaction from travelers, some of whom had to deal with canceled flights into Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden. Steamboat's Alpine Taxi reported an increased number of customers taking its shuttle from Denver to Steamboat on Saturday, largely the result of those canceled flights.
Icy and snow-packed roads were reported throughout the county Saturday, resulting in numerous accidents, though none was believed to be serious.
Today's temperatures are forecast to top out in the upper teens, Cuoco said. Overnight lows will dip into the single digits and below zero in some places.
"It's going to be very cold," Cuoco said. "It's the first real touch of winter."
A second system will move into the area Tuesday but won't be nearly as powerful as the one that blew through northwest Colorado on Friday and Saturday. Tuesday's system should reinforce low temperatures but won't result in significant snow accumulation, Cuoco said.
Routt County wasn't the only area affected by the wintry blast. Snow fell across the state, including along the Front Range and Denver metro area, where hazardous road conditions created a nightmare for road travelers.
Chain requirements were put in effect for trucks traveling on Interstate 70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel. The westbound lanes of I-70 near Glenwood Springs were closed for about two hours Saturday while crews removed a jackknifed truck.
Weather advisories were issued for more than a dozen eastern and northern Colorado counties as a result of the Pacific storm.
November traditionally is the second snowiest month in Colorado. March traditionally is the snowiest.
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