Heavy snow, slick roads

Almost a foot of snow falls on Steamboat Springs

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Almost a foot of heavy, wet snow had snowplow crews working long hours Thursday and caused a number of accidents throughout the city.

City Director of Public Works Jim Weber said the heavy, wet snow caused roads to be slicker than they get during typical Steamboat storms and took longer for the city's snow removing crews to clear off streets. Weber said 8 inches to 1 foot of snow fell in the city.

"Generally speaking, when you have warmer temperatures as this, it gets packed down quicker because of the higher moisture content in it," Weber said.

To get to all the city routes, snow-removing crews came in at 1 a.m. Thursday and worked for 10 hours. It typically takes seven hours to get through the city's five routes, Weber said.

"The volume and weight of the snow takes longer to push," Weber said.

The Steamboat Springs Police Department assisted several motorists whose vehicles slid off the road Thursday morning, and two accidents were reported, Sgt. Dale Coyner said. The two accidents were minor fender benders with no injuries, Coyner said.

A number of motorists also went off the road Wednesday night, Coyner said. A Wisconsin man rolled his Toyota 4Runner off Mount Werner Road near Rotary Park but was not injured.

Coyner reminded motorists to drive carefully and to leave plenty of time to get where they need to go.

"The heavy, wet snow is very, very slick and compact on the roadway. It tends to fool people. They tend to think of it as snow and slush, and not as ice," Coyner said. "People absolutely need to obey the speed limit and drive cautiously and defensively."

Routt County Sheriff John Warner said there were a few accidents this morning, but all of them involved motorists who went off the side of the road and got stuck. No major damages or injuries were reported in the county, he said.

Early this morning, Weber said, crews were expected to clear off the windrows along Lincoln Avenue. If the temperature drops and freezes snow that melted Thursday, Weber said crews might replow some of the streets.

Next week, Weber said, the public works department plans to use snow blowing machines in residential neighborhoods to push back the windrows that have built up along roads after the past two major storms.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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