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Winter Storm Dumps Heavy Snow Along Front Range, Disrupting Travel

Updated 11/26/2019 at 12:00 p.m.

A major winter storm continues to move across Colorado, causing widespread travel disruptions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Airlines at Denver International Airport have canceled hundreds of flights, leaving more than 1,000 travelers stranded.

The Colorado Department of Transportation warns that roads across the northern half of the state are still treacherous. Drivers should stay off the road all day Tuesday if possible, said CDOT spokesman Jared Fiel.

"The good news is that a lot of people are heeding that warning," Fiel said. "The roads are staying pretty clear, which is allowing our plow truck drivers better access to be able to clear those roads so they are more driveable tomorrow."

Fiel says even as the snow tapers off, heavy winds on the eastern plains will cause blizzard conditions, making travel close to impossible Tuesday afternoon and evening.

"Any road that's not closed out there yet probably will be by the end of the day just because of the blizzards and blowing snow that's going on out there," Fiel said.

A portion of I-70 near Idaho Springs is also closed due to a major rockslide. CDOT has no estimated time of when that stretch of highway will reopen.

A troop-carrying vehicle with tank treads was called out late Monday night in rural Morgan County to rescue stranded drivers, Fiel says. Road travel should be safer Wednesday and Thursday, with more snow in the forecast Friday.

Current road closures

  • US 287 Ted's Place to Wyoming
  • EB/WB US 36 Estes Park (MM 1 to MM 10)
  • WB US 36 from Blue Mtn. Rd to Estes Park
  • EB/WB I-76 from Lochbuie to Sterling
  • US 34 Wiggins to Kersey
  • CO 52 Hudson to Wiggins
  • NB/SB CO 71 Limon to Brush
  • EB/WB I-70 Airpark Rd to Burlington
  • NB US 385 at Burlington
  • EB/WB CO 86 from Kiowa to I-70
  • CO 52 from Fort Morgan (MM 88) to CO 14 east of Raymer (MM 111)

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In neighborhoods across the Front Range, people are waking up to heavy snow drifts and blocked driveways.

The National Weather Service says a winter storm warning will remain in effect across Northeastern Colorado until Tuesday afternoon.

Meteorologist Kyle Fredin said the storm will make driving difficult this morning.

“Icy and snow packed roads. You can expect the snow to continue all the way through mid-morning. If there are people out and about traveling there's going to be some restricted visibility along with northeast winds.”

Fredin said if you do have to drive, be prepared for road closures and heavy snow.

Road condition and closure information is available at cotrip.org.

Denver International Airport

Emily Williams, a spokesperson for Denver International Airport, says snow will continue to affect flights at the airport well into Tuesday.

“That means that flight delays and cancellations are possible, we’re working closely with our airline partners so that we are all on the same page in terms of this storm. But we really encourage folks to check with their airline before coming to the airport.”

Williams said road crews will be working hard to keep Peña Boulevard cleared. If you are picking someone up at the airport, make sure you allow for plenty of time to account for delays.

“Also make sure that their flight is on time. Or that you are aware of their flight status, and if you have the ability to take the A-Line or recommend that your folks coming in to take the A-Line, to get closer to downtown, we certainly recommend that.”

Holiday travel impacts

This week's winter storm could have lingering impacts on travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Most of the 960,000 Coloradans traveling for the holiday are expected to do so by car — with plans to leave on Wednesday. By then, the snowstorm should be over and highways will mostly be clear.

But drivers who had planned to go earlier and were forced to wait out the storm will also emerge, making already-busy roads even busier, according to AAA Colorado’s Skyler McKinley.

“We’ve got holiday commuters, mixed in with work commuters, mixed in with the storm. All of those factors coming together means there’s going to be a lot of traffic," McKinley said.

Holiday drivers should set aside additional time for travel.