Steamboat Springs Several Northwest Colorado mountain passes remain closed due to strong winds and drifting snow Friday evening. Transportation officials are not sure when travel will be allowed.
Due to high winds and snow that began Thursday night, the Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. Highway 40 from Steamboat Springs to Kremmling, including Rabbit Ears Pass; Colorado Highway 14 to Walden; and U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass. While I-70 is open in both directions, including at Eisenhower Tunnel, after closures early Friday, Rabbit Ears, Loveland and Cameron passes remained closed as of 7 p.m. as CDOT officials waited for winds to abate.
"What's keeping them closed is the wind," CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said. "Not only the visibility, but we have a great deal of drifting snow, creating a 'snow fence' effect where the highway cuts through the hillside."
Shanks said crews reported especially strong winds in the Muddy Pass area on U.S. 40.
"We're ready to clear the drifts as soon as the winds stop, but until they stop, we can't open those roads," Shanks said.
Thursday night's storm dumped nearly 10 inches of snow on high elevations in Northwest Colorado. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is forecasting several more inches likely to fall tonight, with calmer weather on the way this weekend.
Steamboat Ski Area is reporting 363 inches of snow since late fall.