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Late Spring Snow Cancels Flights, Causes I-70 Rock Slide

Jackie Hai
Wet and heavy snow fell in Greeley, Colorado overnight.

Updated at 1:45 p.m.

Interstate 70 in western Colorado has partially reopened after a rock slide.

Eastbound lanes and one westbound lane of I-70 were open to vehicles Tuesday afternoon in Glenwood Canyon. CDOT warns that drivers should expect periodic lengthy delays as work to clean up debris and prevent new slides continues.

The original story continues below.

A late spring storm has dumped heavy, wet snow in Colorado and Wyoming, cancelling flights and snapping newly greened up tree limbs.

The check in lines were long at Denver International Airport Tuesday morning with travelers from earlier canceled flights hoping to fly out.

Denver's airport got 3.4 inches of snow but some areas near Colorado Springs got a foot or more. Downed tree limbs littered streets in metro Denver. May snowfall is fairly common in the region but usually not this late.

Up to 9 inches of snow was reported in the Cheyenne, Wyoming area.

Nezette Rydell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, told KUNC that snow should continue in the mountains into Wednesday.

“Along the Front Range in the metro areas, should be clearing out Wednesday, definitely by Thursday. We’ll be seeing snow and warmer temperatures by the end of the week. This is a very big storm affecting much of the United States,” she said.

In western Colorado, a rock slide has closed Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon along the Colorado River.

Lisa Schwantes with the Colorado Department of Transportation said crews were able to clear the eastbound lanes earlier Tuesday.

Credit Colorado Department of Transportation
Colorado Department of Transportation
This week's weather caused a rockslide on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon.

They're now working to re-open at least one westbound lane as soon as possible, but even then, rock removal and road repair will continue throughout the day.

"We still have very large boulders that are up to 8 feet by 8 feet, 10 feet by 10 feet — this is about the size of an SUV," Schwantes told KUNC. "And these will need to be drilled and then blasted, in order to move them."

Schwantes said no vehicles were hit by the rocks. A detour is in place, redirecting drivers through Steamboat Springs and south to Craig. The area is prone to slides especially following wet weather and temperature fluctuations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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