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Northern Colorado, Eastern Plains Brace For Major Winter Storm

Expect dangerous driving conditions for much of Wednesday throughout northern Colorado and the eastern plains. Blizzard warnings are in effect with forecasted wind gusts of up to 75 mph and snowfall up to 12 inches.

The National Weather Service says the storm is expected to begin in Wyoming early Wednesday and become more intense throughout the day as it spreads into Colorado.

Heavy snow and powerful wind gusts, especially east of the I-25, are predicted to create dangerous whiteout conditions with zero visibility. The NWS is urging people not to travel Wednesday afternoon or night.

Jared Fiel with the Colorado Department of Transportation said snow plows will be out in full force Wednesday.

"If you are frustrated because you are stuck behind a plow, just live with that frustration. It's okay. Find peace with it," he said, adding that passing plows is dangerous and could cause accidents.

Wednesday's blizzard may be one of the last big storms of the season, but it’s also calving season, the time of year when cattle are giving birth. Ragan Adams, a state veterinary extension specialist with Colorado State University, said ranchers should be taking the necessary precautions to protect their herd. That includes moving animals into a shelter or behind a windbreak.

"If your animals are dry, so they have some kind of barn to go into and out of the wind, they'll fare far better than if they get wet and buried in deep snow," she said.

Adams suggested ranchers pay close attention to pregnant heifers and bring newborns inside, towel them off and keep them warm and feeding to ensure they survive.

"Or even put them under a heat lamp because the first thing that will happen is that they’ll be wet when they’re born and they will get much chillier."

Adams said farmers should keep animals well fed and hydrated to help them combat the cold temperatures. She said she’ll be keeping an eye out for strong winds and deep or wet snow, all of which are potentially hazardous to livestock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.