I-70 closed along mountain corridor as winter storm hammers Colorado
DILLON — One of this winter’s fiercest storms is hammering the Colorado Rockies, canceling school and closing roads across the region, and the snow isn’t expected to stop anytime soon.
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 are closed throughout the mountain corridor from Dotsero west of Vail to Silverthrone on Friday morning. The westbound lanes are closed at Herman Gulch, 3 miles east of the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels, and at Copper Mountain for avalanche control. “Extensive” closures for avalanche mitigation are expected throughout the morning and afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. There is no estimated time for the road to reopen.
U.S. Highway 6 over Loveland Pass also is closed.
“Travelers heading to the mountains this morning will see multihour waits as crews blast avalanche paths and remove the resulting debris,” according to a post by CDOT. “It is strongly advised that traffic wait in Denver or other locations until the roadway has officially reopened.”
A winter storm warning remains in effect across the central and northern mountains of Colorado through midnight Friday. The storm is expected to drop an additional 8-18 inches of snow. Wind gusts of up to 65 mph are expected to cause blowing snow and reduced visibility, making travel difficult, according to the warning. Weather
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All Summit County ski areas are measuring their snow totals in the double digits Friday morning, with Breckenridge Ski Resort racking up 19 inches, most of it falling overnight. Copper Mountain Resort is reporting 17 inches, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area got 14 inches, and Keystone Resort is reporting 11 inches.
• Find the latest forecast and recent weather stories here.
• View Steamboat webcams here.
• Find information from the National Weather Service, including storm warnings and advisories at wrh.noaa.gov
• The Colorado Department of Transportation provides road conditions, closures and traffic cameras at cotrip.org.
• For travel information by phone, call 511 (in Colorado) or dial 303-639-1111.
• Find information about avalanche danger and conditions from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
• For flight information, visit flightview.com/traveltools.
“With snowfall rates of 1-plus inch per hour, these 5 a.m. Friday estimates might be much lower than what you find on the hill,” meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote in his OpenSnow blog. “Also, winds are very strong, so expect to find some areas with little snow and some areas with a lot more than this.”
The wind likely will close lifts at ski areas periodically throughout the day.
For those headed into the backcountry, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an avalanche warning for Steamboat — along with Summit County and Vail region, Aspen, Gunnison, Sawatch and the Front Range — through 8 a.m. Saturday.
“Heavy snowfall and very strong northwesterly winds are building sensitive wind-drifted slabs and rapidly loading buried weak layers,” the forecast states. “You can easily trigger large and dangerous avalanches and some may run naturally.”
A break in the snow is expected Saturday before the next round rolls into the area Saturday night, bringing “light to moderate snow through Sunday,” according to OpenSnow.
See Steamboat Resort powder cams and the latest mountain and road conditions on our mountain cameras page.
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