A strong, wintry storm — the second in less than a week — is dumping over a foot of snow on parts of eastern Colorado and western Kansas on Tuesday, and slinging strong wind gusts up to 65 mph.
Conditions began to deteriorate late Monday night in the Denver area as a heavy bands of snow set up over the metro and areas east and south. The winds were howling along Interstates 76 and 70 just before sunrise, which created dangerous white out conditions for early-morning travelers.
At least 100 cars were stranded on Interstate 25 south of Castle Rock, Colo., early Tuesday morning as heavy snow and strong wind gusts swept down off the Front Range, reports KUSA. Two tractor trailers jackknifed on this stretch of I-25, as well. This prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation closed that section of the interstate, which reopened a few hours later.
Nearly all of I-70 from the eastern border of Colorado to Denver — 157 miles — was closed early Tuesday afternoon because of white out conditions and icy roads. The Colorado DOT did not have an estimate of when it will be reopened.
A blizzard warning remains in effect for parts of eastern Colorado, western Kansas and southwest Nebraska. A blizzard warning is issued when the combination of snow and wind is expected to decrease visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three hours or more. The warning is expected to remain in effect in Kansas and Nebraska until 11 p.m. local time.
The National Weather Service expects snow totals to reach 18 inches in the heaviest bands, along with wind gusts up to 65 mph. As of 6 a.m., local time, Denver International Airport had accumulated 4 inches of snow, while areas just to the south and east have seen much more. As of 7:15 a.m., Monument, Colo., reported 16 inches and farther west, Evergreen, Colo., has reported 18 inches.
The heaviest snow bands have shifted east into eastern Colorado and western Kansas on Tuesday afternoon as the main storm system tracks through the Plains.