Storm causes dozens of wrecks, brings snow to mountains
The Associated Press
Western Garfield County School District 16 was closed Tuesday as a snowstorm swept across the state, sending dozens of vehicles spinning and provided much-wanted snow in the mountains.
Garfield Re-2 School District, which spans from Rifle to New Castle, held classes, as did Roaring Fork Re-1 schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.
Snow started falling Monday morning and continued through midday Tuesday in Garfield County. About 24 inches of snow fell in the west-central mountains near McClure Pass, the National Weather Service said.
Emergency responders tackled numerous car wrecks in Garfield County.
In total Colorado State Patrol received calls for 38 car crashes that resulted in damage to vehicles and 136 “motorist assists,” primarily in Garfield and Eagle counties, and less so in Summit County.
CSP Capt. Richard Duran said there had been several rollovers and crashes involving multiple cars — including one involving actor James Woods. The bulk of the problems were simply cars sliding off the road and getting stuck but with no major damage.
“The I-70 corridor kept us busy,” he said.
Duran said many of the accidents were the result of drivers not heeding the dangerous conditions.
Drivers should slow down and be aware of the ever-changing conditions, he said. “Check your tires to make sure they’re adequate to get you around safely.”
Glenwood Spring Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said his department responded to seven vehicle accidents Monday.
A couple of wrecks required ambulance transport, the fire chief said. “But most of the wrecks where vehicle slide-offs.”
Tillotson was most concerned about when the sun goes down and the roads refreeze, fearing that people will loose their sense of caution.
The storm barreled on toward the Great Plains, prompting airlines to cancel 425 flights at the Denver airport and leaving hundreds of miles of highways slippery with snow and ice.
The snow tapered off Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved northeast, leaving behind drifts up to 4 feet high.
“It’s going to be western Nebraska’s turn next,” National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Dankers said. “It’s going to end up eventually in Minnesota.”
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Fire investigators are still working on determining the cause of Tuesday’s house fire in Glenwood Springs, which left no one injured but caused extensive damage.