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Colorado weather blog: Traffic, travel, snow updates from Dec. 26 snowstorm

Posted: 5:59 AM, Dec 26, 2023
Updated: 2023-12-26 23:57:24-05
Denver International Airport December 26, 2023.jpg
DIA December 26, 2023.jpg

A winter weather advisory expired Tuesday for the Denver metro area while blizzard warnings persist for northeastern Colorado.

"Difficult to impossible travel conditions are likely to continue as a result," the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

Below, you can find updates related to traffic and weather as the storm moves through. Refresh this page for the latest.

Tuesday, Dec. 26

10:42 p.m. | Warming centers | A warming shelter has opened at the Yuma Community Center, located at 421 East Second Avenue in Yuma, Colorado, due to "extensive road closures and stranded motorists," according to the American Red Cross.

6:51 p.m. | Warming centers | A warming shelter has opened at the Cheyenne County Fairgrounds, located at 415 W. 6th Street South in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado.

5:19 p.m. | Snow totals | The NWS says a weather spotter north of Elizabeth reported nine inches of snow in the area. For other snow totals from around the northeast plains, click here.

4:20 p.m. | Latest weather outlook | The National Weather Service in Boulder has issued it latest forecast outlook as blizzard conditions continue to pummel the northeast plains. In short, the NWS says a blizzard warning is in effect for the northeast plains and the Palmer Divide until 5 a.m. Wednesday and those in the warned area should continue avoiding travel for the time being.

Major impacts due to blizzard conditions will remain from northeast to southwest overnight, with Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Lincoln, Douglas, Elbert, and eastern Adams and Arapahoe counties especially affected from now until midnight. Blowing/light snow will remain for these areas through 6 a.m. Wednesday.

nws boulder storm impact 122326.png

More on the latest weather outlook can be found here.

3:19 p.m. | Full closure of I-70 on the eastern plains | Eastbound I-70 is closed from Airpark to Burlington and westbound I-70 is closed from Burlington to Stratten, CDOT said on X.

2:49 p.m. | EB I-70 closed again | The eastbound lanes of I-70 are closed again from Limon to Burlington, near the Kansas border, according to CDOT.

1:45 p.m. | Highway reopened | Hwy 86 from Elizabeth, Kiowa to I-70 has reopened, according to the Elbert County Office of Emergency Management.

12:55 p.m. | Airport delays | The delays only continue to pile up at DIA. The total number of delayed flights now stands at 392. The number of canceled flights remains at 20.

12:10 p.m. | Airport delays | 350 fights in and out of DIA are delayed, according to FlightAware. 239 of those are scheduled to leave Denver, and 111 are trying to get back to DIA.

11:54 a.m. | CDOT warning | Because of a High Wind Warning the NWS issued, CDOT warned drivers Tuesday to avoid traveling, especially those operating semi-trucks, RVs, vans and buses, or you're towing a trailer.

The strong winds along east of the Continental Divide could cause blowing snow and reduced visibility at higher elevations, CDOT cautioned in a news release.

nws boulder blizzard warnings.png

CDOT's advice for drivers:

  • Make sure your tires have at least 3/16 of an inch tread.
  • Once you are out on the road, take it slow. Don't make any sudden stops.
  • Give snow plows space. Stay back three to four car lengths from snowplows. Leave plenty of following distance between you and other drivers as well.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car with extra clothes, water, food and other essentials.

11:35 a.m. | Airport delays and cancellations | Things only continue to worsen at DIA Tuesday as the number of canceled flights jumps to 20 and delays rise to 281, according to Flight Aware.

11:05 a.m. | Airport delays |There are now 258 delays in and out of DIA, according to FlightAware.

The wait time, on average, is 28 minutes at DIA's south security. Bridge security has a wait time of 18 minutes, and north security is only 11 minutes.

The 61st and Peña parking lot is full at DIA, and the Longs Peak lot is closed. But all others are open.

10:45 a.m. | DIA ground stop | The Federal Aviation Administration has put DIA on a ground stop, an airport spokesperson confirmed to Denver7.

10:40 a.m. | Luminova will not welcome visitors| Elitch Gardens in Denver announced it will close and there will be no Luminova Holidays event Tuesday due to "the extremely frosty weather and snowfall."

Reservations are no longer required and anyone who's interested can buy tickets for another night when the theme park is open, Elitch Gardens said in an announcement Wednesday.

10:10 a.m. | Airport delays | There are now 174 delays in and out of DIA, according to FlightAware. Cancellations remain steady at 18.

10:00 a.m. | Airport delays | There are now 143 delays in and out of DIA, according to FlightAware.

9:56 a.m. | EB I-70, Airpark Road reopens | I-70 eastbound at Airpark Road has reopened, according to Denver7's Wanya Reese who was out at the closure Tuesday morning to monitor the interstate for updates.

Portion of I-70 closed in Colorado to Kansas state line

9:17 a.m. | Airport delays and cancellations | There are 18 cancellations at Denver International Airport and 117 delays, according to FlightAware.

DIA has the most delays and cancellations both coming in and out of Denver. Southwest Airlines has the most delays, while SkyWest has the most cancellations.

Busiest travel day of the season expected Dec. 26

5:47 a.m. | National Weather Service Boulder briefing | Blizzard conditions will continue across the plains Tuesday, NWS forecasters said. High winds could reach 60-65 mph.

There will be a slight lull in the snow mid-Tuesday morning, but the NWS said it will resume later Tuesday afternoon.

5:03 a.m. | Winter Weather Advisory | Most of the Denver metro can expect 1-3 inches of snow in a matter of few hours Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service Boulder.

3:52 a.m. | Road closure | U.S. Route 385 southbound is closed between County Road 36.3 and North Street West, the Colorado Department of Transportation posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

3:50 a.m. | Road closure | Colorado State Highway 86 is closed in both directions from Elizabeth to Interstate 70. I-70 is closed in both directions east of Limon.

1:41 a.m. | Road closure | Colorado State Highway 61 is closed between U.S. Route 6 and Airport Court, CDOT said.

1:11 a.m. | Road closure | Interstate 70 eastbound is closed between the Kansas state line and U.S. 40, according to CDOT.

1:11 a.m. | Road closure | Interstate 70 westbound is also closed between the Kansas state line and U.S. 40, CDOT said.

1:04 a.m. | Road closure | Colorado State Highway 59 northbound is closed between Wilson Street and South Main Avenue, Elevator Road, according to CDOT.

1:00 a.m. | Road closure | U.S. Route 36 westbound is closed due to safety concerns between the Nebraska state line and Colorado State Highway 61, CDOT said.

12:47 a.m. | Road closure | Colorado State Highway 59 southbound between U.S. Route 36 and I-70 is closed, according to CDOT.

12:44 a.m. | Road closure | Colorado State Highway 59 southbound between County Road 15.50 and Interstate 70 is closed, CDOT said.

LINKS: Closings and Delays | Latest forecast | Radars | Traffic | Weather Page | 24/7 Weather Stream

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