Mar 16, 2021 -- Posted by : goi70

This past weekend’s highly anticipated storm was slow to hit, giving many the false impression that the forecast was exaggerated. This both pleased some and disappointed others, however many were in shock to wakeup Sunday morning and find severe conditions almost everywhere statewide.

The National Weather Service recorded 27.1 inches at the Denver International Airport on Sunday evening, making it the fourth biggest storm in the city’s history. The storm pushed Denver’s 2020-21 Winter season snowfall totals to just over 60 inches, surpassing the average seasonal snowfall of 56.5 inches and making it the most since 2015-16 (a season that experienced another massive April storm). More than 1,800 flights were canceled, and 65 snowplow drivers in the Denver metro worked 12-hour shifts to help keep the city’s roads clear.

Storm snowfall totals in the High Country hovered between 25 inches and 32 inches – raising Colorado’s snowpack to 91% of its typical Winter season average. The snow featured extremely-high water content – similar to what one would experience in the northeastern US – and brought much needed moisture to the state. With the exception of the San Luis Valley, most of Colorado remains in drought conditions.

On I-70, troubles began Friday morning, when a semi-truck (in a non-weather-related incident) jackknifed near Dumont, closing the highway. By 11am, a single westbound lane opened, but due to high demand (as travelers hoped to beat the storm), travel times between Denver and the Eisenhower Tunnel had already exceeded two hours, while US-285 and other alternative routes began to experience delays as well. By 4:30pm all lanes had reopened, and weather-related challenges on I-70, from Friday through Saturday, were mild compared with what was in store on Sunday.

Hundreds of drivers spent much of the day in limbo near I-70, with multiple closures spanning different parts of the Mountain Corridor. Both skiers/snowboarders on their way to the mountains, and weekend travelers heading homeward bound to the east, were impacted. The first closures began as early as 10:45am and the latest were recorded through 9pm. The Colorado State Patrol called Sunday, a day with “whiteout brutal conditions.”


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