Snow brings headaches, smiles

Storm causes flight delays, power outages

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The weekend storm system that dropped 18 inches of snow and sent temperatures downward caused flight delays and power outages in the Yampa Valley.

The storm, which started early Saturday morning and lasted through Sunday afternoon, came in from the Pacific Northwest.

After the storm cleared, low temperatures settled in. The mercury was expected to drop below minus 10 degrees Monday night. Snow isn't expected again until the weekend.

Carol Ficker, United Express manager at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, said flights between Denver and Hayden were canceled. The storm in Hayden caused the flights to be canceled Saturday night and Sunday morning.

When the storm moved toward Denver, flights were canceled out of Denver on Sunday night. The Sunday night cancellation of the flight into Hayden meant the Monday morning flight out of Hayden also was canceled, Ficker said. All the flights were anticipated to be full with 37 passengers.

Some passengers were bused to Denver. Other travelers found themselves stranded for hours on Interstate 70.

The airport was shut down for commercial and general aviation flights Sunday morning, airport manager Jim Parker said. The airport primarily was shut down because of low visibility and a low ceiling level, but the airport also had problems when its major snow blower broke down early Sunday morning. Without the snow blower, crews could not clear the runways fast enough, Parker said.

Yampa Valley Electric spokesman Jim Chappell said the storm created a very busy weekend for the company because of high winds and heavy snow. Crews worked throughout the night to fix power outages, and Chappell said that by Monday afternoon all the power had been restored.

Chappell was unsure about how many power outages or problems there were in the county, but he said power was off for a few hours in at least two areas.

High winds also caused a number of blanks, where power flickered on and off briefly. Those lapses in power were a result of high winds blowing two power lines together, Chappell said.

The snowstorm did have some Routt County residents smiling. Gondola Square was packed before the lifts opened Sunday morning with skiers and riders eager to partake in the first powder day of the year.

The added snow allowed Steamboat Ski Area to open top to bottom skiing Sunday morning with more than a foot of fresh, untracked snow.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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