Winter storm 18 - 20 Mar 2003
It was angry out there. A big winter storm buried metro Denver and the foothills. All the associated problems are present - 3 deaths, closed schools, the airport is shut down and the fabric roof has a 35 foot rip, stranded vehicles, closed businesses, 2 closed interstates, several closed state routes, burning transformers, downed trees, downed powerlines and blackouts (8,500 people without power), several collapsed buildings (1 less than a mile away from me), avalanches, etc.. Lots of snow drifted up on my windows too.
Snow totals for SW Denver stood at 35 inches. The official total for Denver at Stapelton is 29.5 inches making this the second biggest storm in Denver history. The foothills received up to 90 inches.
Pictures from around my apartment 15.00 MST 18 Mar,
21.00 MST 18 Mar,
12.30 MST 19 Mar, and the dig out,
17.00 MST 19 Mar.
Here is an AP story about the blizzard.
DENVER (AP) A powerful blizzard paralyzed Colorado's capital and Front Range on Wednesday, closing government offices, businesses, schools and interstates with hip-deep snow.
Denver International Airport was shut down, stranding about 1,000 travelers, and a seam in the tent-like roof began to tear under the weight of the snow. Governor Bill Owens and officials in suburban cities warned residents to stay home unless travel was absolutely necessary.
Owens' spokesman, Dan Hopkins, said the storm may be the worst to hit metropolitan Denver in 20 years.
A blizzard warning remained in effect from the Wyoming border to New Mexico, with high winds and half a foot or more of new snow expected Wednesday.
Owens asked that only essential and emergency personnel be on the roads.
Authorities in Denver, suburban Aurora and Boulder threatened to ticket drivers who ventured out without a good reason.
At DIA, waiting travelers were moved to the outer edges of the main terminal as a precaution after the seam tear was spotted.
"We don't believe there is any imminent danger with this portion of the roof that is torn. We're not seeing any leakage or anything from outside coming in," airport spokesman Steve Snyder said.
Passengers stuck at the airport spent the night on 850 cots, in chairs and blankets stretched across the floor of the terminal. Snyder said the facility was closed at about 1:30 a.m. after about two feet of snow had fallen in the past 24 hours. There was no immediate word on when it would reopen.
The heavy, wet snow snapped power lines and caused other problems, and 6,200 customers along the Front Range were left without electricity, mostly in small clusters.
One major line failed in central Denver, affecting 2,200 customers. Xcel Energy crews were working through the day to restore power.
State government was closed to all but essential personnel, as were many county and municipal offices, said David Holm, deputy director of the state's Office of Emergency Management.
He said essential employees were told not to try to get to work unless they could do it safely. Only two people had arrived by 7 a.m. MST, he said.
The storm that rumbled into Colorado Tuesday delivered its heaviest blow from the Denver area to the north and east.
About 1,500 snowplow drivers worked to clear roads, hampered by abandoned vehicles, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said.
Interstate 25 was closed from Wellington 20 miles north to the Wyoming border, 20 miles north. U.S. 34 was closed from Greeley to I-25, and E-470, which circles the east side of the Denver metro area, was closed from end to end.
Interstate 70, the state's main east-west artery, was closed from Denver to Burlington, 150 miles east near the Kansas border. Another 55 miles was closed in the mountains west of Denver.
"A good storm lasts a day," said National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin. "This will be a three-day storm."
As of Wednesday morning, the foothills were hardest hit. The Fritz Peak Observatory in Rollinsville, 30 miles northwest of Denver, reported more than 41/2 feet of snow.
Southeast Denver had 29 inches. Fort Collins had up to 30 inches and Boulder 38.
Schools and universities closed in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder and Fort Collins.
The roof of a 25,000-square-foot warehouse in northeast Denver collapsed under the weight of the heavy, wet snow, Larry Trujillo of the Denver Fire Department said. The roof of Rome's Saloon in Denver collapsed when a column failed.
No injuries were reported.
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