DENVER – Coloradans should watch out for blowing dust Tuesday as a High Wind Warning has been expanded into the Denver metro and continues for the northern plains, according to the latest forecast by the National Weather Service.
The High Wind Warning was expanded to areas of the Denver metro including Denver, Aurora, Littleton, Brighton, Highlands Ranch, Parker, and Castle Rock, and remains in effect from west of Fort Collins east to Julesburg, as well as the Front Range foothills, Weld, Morgan and Washington counties through 9 p.m. Tuesday.
READ MORE: In-depth look at the forecast | Today's forecast | Interactive weather radars
In its latest forecast, the National Weather Service said elevated to critical fire weather conditions will persist across the plains Tuesday afternoon. Currently, all the northeast Colorado plains and the Palmer Divide are under a Red Flag Warning and Fire Weather Watch until 9 p.m.
Denver7 has the latest on Tuesday’s high winds and fire weather in the blog below.
8:30 p.m. | Thousands without power across Denver metro
Thousands of Xcel Energy customers are without power across the Denver metro as high winds sweep across the state.
Thousands of Xcel Energy customers are without power across the Denver metro area as high winds sweep across the state. #COwx pic.twitter.com/vxqf8QhRPm— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) April 6, 2022
To view the latest outage map from Xcel Energy, click here.
5:25 p.m. | Blowing dust could affect drivers on I-70 and I-76 east of Denver
The National Weather Serve is warning drivers of reduced visibility on I-70 and I-76 east of Denver due to blowing dust from the strong winds. Traffic may suddenly slow or stop, especially near open fields.
If you're caught in blowing dust, slow down and turn your lights on. Sound your horn occasionally, and use the painted center line as a guide.
⚠️Attention I-70 & I-76 travelers east of Denver ⚠️— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) April 5, 2022
Strong winds are producing areas of blowing dust. Visibility may be suddenly reduced near open fields, resulting in suddently slowed/stopped traffic. #COwx pic.twitter.com/TZpr4j7Yj7
12:15 p.m. | Xcel Energy says its prepared for high winds, offers tip for staying safe
Xcel says its crews are ready to respond if wind gusts down power lines across the Front Range Tuesday.
They say customers can get a jump start on power restoration by reporting outages online at xcelenergy.com/out, by texting OUT to 98936, or text STAT to the same number to check the status on a given outage, or by calling 1-800-895-1999 and following the prompts
Customers are asked to stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.
They also advise residents to build an emergency kit containing a battery-powered radio or television, flashlights, batteries, back up phone chargers, a phone that does not require electricity, non-electric alarm clock, bottled water and nonperishable food, manual can opener, first aid kit, extension cords (for partial outages), and manufacturer's instructions on how to manually open power-operated doors (e.g., garage doors)
When using a space heater, make sure the heater has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory, and read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. Additionally, inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections; don’t use it if they are frayed, worn or damaged. Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving a room and don’t go to sleep with a space heater on. Additionally, Xcel Energy offers rebates and incentives to install energy efficient furnaces and insulation.
To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day. Visit the USDA website for more information.
10:27 a.m. | Outages reported in Severance/Windsor due to high winds
Customers in the Severance/Windsor area are without power due to an outage happening at the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, officials tweeted Tuesday.
They ask residents to treat any downed line as potentially energized and remain at least 10 feet back from it.
Service was restored just before noon.
9 a.m. | Loveland Ski Area, Echo Mountain close for the day due to high winds
Wind gusts at Loveland Ski Area and Echo Mountain forced ski area officials to close both locations Tuesday morning, as conditions made it impossible to safely operate lifts.
Our partners at The Denver Post reported a spokesperson for Arapahoe Basin said the ski area is open, but the Beavers, Pallavicini, and Montezuma lifts were on hold due to wind. The Lenawee lift was running at reduced speed and may close at some point due to wind, the spokesperson told the newspaper.