Sunday, April 30, 2017

Winter Storm Ursa Creates Travel Difficulties In New Mexico, Colorado

Ada Carr, Sean Breslin and Pam Wright
Published: April 30,2017

Winter Storm Ursa continues to march across the southern Rockies Saturday, after dumping more than two feet of snow in some areas.
Motorists became stranded on Interstate 70 in northwest Kansas Sunday due to blizzard conditions, Thomas County Emergency Management reported to the National Weather Service (NWS). Crews have been rescuing drivers since 6:15 a.m. MDT.
KAKE reports that 130 miles of the roadway were shut down from WaKeeney to the Kansas and Colorado border Sunday due to the conditions.
(MORE: Where Ursa Is Headed Next)
A portion of I-80 has also been shut down between exits 231 and 237, 39 miles west of Kearney, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads.
The town of Oakley, Kansas, remained without power Sunday due to the snow, according to NWS.
NWS issued a blizzard warning for the area late Saturday afternoon as the storm began to crank up with wind and snow.
At least 100 evacuations and almost three dozen rescues were reported Saturday after the storm, the Kansas City Star reports.
Denver received 5 inches from the storm per the NWS, with the highest snow total of 24 inches recorded in Colorado City, said meteorologist Jonathan Belles. As of Saturday afternoon, most roads were clear in Denver.
In Pueblo, Colorado, heavy, wet snow caused damages throughout the town, snapping tree branches that collided with cars, homes and power lines, the Associated Press reports.
Black Hills Energy reported 9,200 were without power at the height of the storm, the Pueblo Chieftain reports.
Meanwhile, treacherous driving conditions were reported from southern Colorado to northern New Mexico. Interstate 40 just east of Tijeras, New Mexico, was closed Saturday following a wreck involving a tractor-trailer.
Closures were also reported on I-25 and Highway 64 near Raton Saturday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.
Before arriving in Colorado, more than two feet of snow was reported in the higher elevations of Wyoming from Ursa Friday, and some roads were closed. According to the Casper Star Tribune, Highway 16 was closed in the Bighorn Mountains, one of several highways shut down because of the dangerous conditions.
Multiple traffic accidents caused trouble in Colorado Friday night, forcing the closure of eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 at Silverthorne in Summit County, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Snow will continue to fall in the Colorado and New Mexico front range eastward into the western portions of Kansas, Nebraska and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles through Saturday night, Belles said. An additional foot of snow is possible in western Kansas.

On Sunday, a swath of snow and cold rain will pivot across the central Plains into the Upper Midwest.
MORE: Winter Storm Ursa

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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