Much-needed snow cause for celebration, highway woes | PostIndependent.com

Much-needed snow cause for celebration, highway woes

A winter storm that brought much-needed moisture to the central Rockies and added to the snow depth at ski areas also wreaked havoc on area highways Monday.

Interstate 70 was closed on and off throughout the day due to minor weather-related accidents near Rifle in the morning and in Glenwood Canyon later in the day. Heavy snow also canceled classes at Colorado Mountain College campuses in Rifle.

Garfield Re-2 Schools remained in session, though, as the storm hit after buses were already on the road and students were being picked up, according to an alert posted on the district's website.

The Rifle Police Department issued an accident alert on its Facebook page, advising motorists involved in non-injury accidents that don't involve major vehicle damage to exchange information between drivers and complete a report on the state CDOT website.

The National Weather Service forecast called for snow to continue through the night and into Tuesday morning, tapering off by noon and clearing in the afternoon. More snow is in the forecast for the Glenwood Springs and Rifle areas Wednesday and Thursday.

After a historically dry December and January, a weekend snowstorm that dumped close to 2 feet of snow in parts of the Elk Mountain Range followed by the Monday storm came as welcome relief, as the Colorado River Basin snowpack had dropped to 65 percent of normal as of the Feb. 1 report.

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Sunlight Mountain Resort benefited from several storms in a row over the last week that boosted the snow depth by close to 2 feet, according to Troy Hawks, marketing and sales director for the resort.

"And we got a nice freeze on Sunday morning that helped the snow earlier in the week settle up nicely," Hawks said. "We've been able to open more terrain, including two runs on east ridge and some glades … and more will be opening up."