DENVER — Travel along Colorado's northeast plains is discouraged Tuesday evening as blizzard conditions continue limit visibility and hammer the area after a quick blast of winter weather pushed through the Denver metro dropping a couple inches of snow.
Slick and hazardous conditions have forced portions of I-70 east of Denver to be closed several times during the day as winter weather is expected to have an impact in eastern Colorado into Wednesday.
A dozen Colorado counties remain under a blizzard warning until 5 a.m. Wednesday, including the cities of Limon, Akron, Cope, Last Chance and Otis. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Boulder said blowing snow and high winds could drop visibility down to a quarter of a mile.
Castle Rock, Byers, Elizabeth and Kiowa are also under a blizzard warning until Wednesday morning where travel is expected to be difficult with an additional 2 to 5 inches of snow possible with wind gusts up to 55 mph, the NWS said.
Many road closures have already been reported across the eastern portion of Colorado including I-70 eastbound between E-470 to the Kansas state line, which reopened around 10 a.m. However, the eastbound lanes closed again from Limon to the border shortly before 3 p.m.
Westbound I-70 was also closed from Burlington to Stratten. Drivers along I-76 should also expect blizzard conditions.
"Blizzard conditions will impact 1-70 east of Bennett/Strasburg, I-76 near Julesburg, and many roads of east central Colorado," said the NWS in its afternoon briefing.
Check updated Colorado road conditions and winter weather reports
Elbert County's Office of Emergency Management said numerous road closures are in place and motorists should avoid attempting to take any secondary or county roadways to bypass highway closures due to the conditions.
- I-70 eastbound from near Watkins to Kansas
- I-70 westbound from Burlington to Stratten
- US-6 eastbound from Sterling to Nebraska
- US 24 both directions from Seibert to Kansas
- US 36 in both directions from Last Chance to Kansas State Line
- US 40 both directions from Kit Carson to Cheyenne Wells
- US 385 in both directions from Cheyenne Wells to Nebraska State Line
- CO 59 in both directions from Haxtun to Yuma
- CO 59 in both directions from Seibert to Cope
- CO 61 in both directions from Otis to Sterling
- CO 63 in both directions from Akron to Anton
- CO 71 in both directions from Limon to Brush
Highway 86 from Kiowa to I-70 reopened as of around 1:45 p.m., according to the Elbert County Office of Emergency Management.
Holiday travelers are seeing some weather impacts at Denver International Airport which reported over 400 flight delays and 22 cancellations, according to FlightAware.
High wind gusts have been reported across the state, including a 64 mph gust at DIA.
The Denver metro remained under a winter weather advisory which expired at 9 a.m. as snow was expected to taper off during the morning hours.
The NWS said the heaviest snowfall should happen in the Palmer Divide, where up to 6 additional inches of snow was possible through Wednesday morning.
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Along with the winter weather alerts, a high wind warning is in effect until midnight for several Colorado counties east of I-25 including Larimer, Weld, Morgan, Lincoln and Logan counties.
Check latest Colorado winter weather alerts.
Northerly wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour can be expected adding to the treacherous driving conditions. “Crosswinds will lead to difficult travel for high profile vehicles, and blowing dust and/or snow may lead to reduced visibility at times on major roadways, including I-76 and I-70,” said the NWS.
The post-Christmas storm continued to slam the central United States with blizzard warnings stretching across Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas and South Dakota.
After Denver’s quick blast of snow, conditions will improve in the metro for the rest of the week. “We bounce back into the 50s with partly cloudy skies to close out 2023,” said Denver7 meteorologist Steve Roldán.
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