Late season blizzard raises havoc on Colorado's plains

By Ellie Mulder Updated: April 14, 2018 at 7:04 am • Published: April 13, 2018 0
photo - High winds uprooted trees in Limon Friday. (Photo courtesy of Limon Police Department - Twitter)
High winds uprooted trees in Limon Friday. (Photo courtesy of Limon Police Department - Twitter)

High winds and light snow closed roads and schools in El Paso County on Friday, but the brunt of a late season, blizzard-like storm passed north and east of the Pikes Peak region.

Snow started to fall early Friday in Monument and Woodland Park. By midday, poor visibility due to blowing and drifting snow had shut down U.S. 24 between Calhan and Limon, as well as major roads across the state, including Interstate 70 between Limon and the Kansas line.

A high wind warning that went into effect Friday morning in much of southeastern Colorado, including El Paso County, was expected to remain in place in the county until 3 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service in Pueblo reported.

Winds gusted to 45 to 55 mph across the county, the weather service reported. In El Paso County, winds peaked at 62 mph west of Truckton.

A blizzard warning was issued Friday for the far northeast plains, and a winter weather advisory was in place in the mountains, the National Weather Service in Boulder reported.

"Travel will be dangerous to impossible later today and tonight across the northeast plains," the weather service said in a Friday morning tweet. "Zero visibility along with damage to tress and power lines is possible."

The blizzard-like conditions were expected to stick around in parts of the state through early Saturday.

In El Paso County, Calhan School District RJ-1 released students at 1 p.m. and canceled all afternoon and evening activities "due to high winds and possible unsafe conditions for high profile vehicles." Miami-Yoder School District JT-60 also released students early at 1 p.m., and Edison School District 54JT schools sent students home at 1:30 p.m.

Friday's contest between the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Round Rock Express at Security Service Field, 4385 Tutt Blvd., was postponed "due to high winds and cold temperature," the team said in a 3:05 p.m. tweet. The game was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader for Sunday.

Although winds were strong across the state Friday, the storm didn't come close to the devastating hurricane-force blasts seen Jan. 9, 2017, which downed trees, knocked out power and damaged roofs and vehicles. The Colorado Springs Airport recorded an 80 mph gust that day, breaking a record set in 1999.

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The Gazette's Liz Forster contributed to this report.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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