And you thought your commute was stressful.
On Sunday afternoon, drivers were making their way through a Colorado mountain pass when it was suddenly engulfed by an avalanche. One motorist films a menacing cloud on the road ahead as he slowly drives toward it before coming to a stop. “Wow! Aftermath of the avalanche on I-70,” a voice can be heard saying in the video. A second video, taken from another vehicle, shows a column of snow coming down the mountainside toward the motorists below. It devours the highway ahead of the car, which stops and backs away before being consumed by a cloud of snow.
Avalanches rumbled down a mountainside in Colorado’s Ten Mile Canyon on Sunday, enveloping in clouds of snow a major highway that leads to some of the region’s most popular ski resorts. No one was killed or injured, and no vehicles were buried.
While avalanches are not uncommon in the winter in Colorado, “this particular area is one that hasn’t run in decades,” said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford, but this season “we are having a lot more snow.”
Weather in the area meant that the DOT couldn’t see the tops of the mountains in Ten Mile Canyon where snow was building up, Ford said.
One avalanche occurred in the afternoon and was captured on video, followed by a larger avalanche at approximately 5 p.m. Mountain time, which resulted in a short road closure, according to Ford.
Ford said DOT closed the road for “under an hour” after the evening avalanche struck. Crews cleaned “about 3-4 feet [of snow] that ran over the highway,” she said. The debris included rocks and some trees, which are typical for avalanches.
DOT works to prevent avalanches from damaging roads and injuring people, including proactively setting off slides so snow does not build up to dangerous levels.
Colorado’s Avalanche Information Center recorded 807 avalanches in February, 444 of which were triggered naturally.