Storm drops more snow on Colorado areas, I-70 backs up

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2015 3:49 PM
Storm drops more snow on Colorado areas, I-70 backs up

DENVER (AP) — Coloradans took to cross-country skis, snowshoes and sleds on Sunday as a snowstorm dumped more than 2 feet of snow on some areas, breaking some local records and forcing churches to close.

Dozens of churches canceled services in the Denver area Sunday, leaving phone messages or postings on Facebook asking members of their congregations to spread the word.

Forecasters predicted 2 feet or more of snow for mountain areas and western slopes of the Front Range by the time it stops falling on Monday, following a lull on Sunday with sub-freezing temperatures. Another round is expected in the middle of the week, lasting through next weekend.

Heath Montgomery, spokesman for Denver International Airport, reported 142 flight cancellations by Sunday morning, in addition to 185 on Saturday.

The storm has been a good snow-maker for the northern and central mountains with 10 to 15 inches at some resorts and a grand total over the weekend of 18 to 24 inches.

Boulder broke a record for the month, with 34 inches of snow compared with 32 inches three years ago.

Last year, Denver International Airport got 38 inches of snow for the season. This year, the airport had about 30 inches of snow before the storm began, and officials expect another 14 inches by Monday morning.

The Colorado Department of Transportation mobilized more than 600 snowplows and urged drivers to follow them up steep mountain highways to avoid spinning out. Some ignored warnings to stay home this weekend. DOT said ski traffic returning to Denver is heavy, with wait times on I-70 of more than an hour.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina said Sunday that it's a bit late in the month for heavy, lingering snow and low temperatures, but by no means a record for Colorado. March is usually the snowiest month along the Front Range.

"However, this is pretty good for February," he said.

Elsewhere in the U.S., the winter's onslaught was to continue into the workweek:

— Warming temperatures accompanying a winter storm turned precipitation in many areas from snow to sleet, making sidewalks and streets in New York and Philadelphia slushy and treacherous Sunday.

— Flood warnings were posted in the South after rain and above-freezing temperatures in Tennessee prompted state emergency officials to warn of possible flash flooding from melting snow on Saturday. Officials say the storms and freezing temperatures this past week in Tennessee caused 21 deaths, including 11 attributed to hypothermia.

— In Boston, temperatures were expected to climb to around 40 degrees on Sunday. The warmup is a welcome change for a city that's seen 7 feet of snow.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he met with two top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials about an upcoming request for a presidential major disaster declaration for four major snowstorms that recently hit the state.

— A winter storm warning is in effect for far northwestern Oklahoma, where forecasters say up to 5 inches of snow is possible. The National Weather Service says brief bursts of snow are possible through Sunday night. Blowing and drifting snow is expected.

— And in Minnesota, International Falls reported a low of 26 below zero. Winds are expected to increase across Minnesota on Monday, with temperatures below normal, but warmer than Sunday.