Snow, slush greet Denver commuters

Oct. 26, 2011 at 1:19 PM   |   0 comments

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DENVER, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Denver got a full blast of winter in mid-fall Wednesday with heavy wet snow bringing down power lines and fouling streets during the morning rush hour.

By 8 a.m., there were unofficial reports of a foot or more of snow in some parts of eastern Colorado, the National Weather Service said. A foot of the white stuff was reported in Greeley, about 50 miles northeast of Denver, and almost 17 inches in Ward in the mountains 10 miles northwest of Boulder.

More than 60,000 Xcel Energy customers had no electricity at 7 a.m. as the snow snapped tree branches, utility spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo told The Denver Post. Xcel had 80 power crews, including 12 brought in from New Mexico, and 33 tree crews at work.

Colorado State Trooper Nate Reid said there were scores of crashes during rush hour, most of them from drivers sliding off slick interstates.

Ann Williams of the Denver Department of Public Works told the Post 68 snow plows hit the streets as soon as the snow began to fall Tuesday.

"We're looking really good," Williams said of the roadways Wednesday. "The biggest thing for drivers this morning is to make sure they have wiper fluid."

Williams said ice and slush on bridges or elevated sections of road should melt once the sun rises.

Williams said one plow operator reported a lot of fallen branches in the middle of the streets.

After a record 80 degrees on Monday in the Denver area, weather conditions were expected to become snowy south along the Interstate-25 corridor into northeastern New Mexico through Wednesday night, AccuWeather.com reported.

Travel delays and potential tree damage were expected to track along with the snow as it moved southward across the Interstate 25 corridor into northeastern New Mexico, Accuweather forecasters said. Cities in line to experience a rain-to-wet snow changeover include Pueblo and Trinidad, Colo., and Las Vegas. The eastern point of the snow could reach Dalhart, Texas, late Wednesday.

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