Denver airport shutdown as blizzard hits Colorado

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A blizzard hit Colorado and the plains dumping more than two feet of snow in Denver, rising to five feet in some areas north of Denver. Over 2500 flights stand canceled as |Denver International Airport, the fifth-busiest airport in the US, shut down on Wednesday. The airport is not expected to open until noon of Friday. Thousands of travelers have been stranded during the busy Christmas season.

Snow started to fall in Denver at dawn on Wednesday, and did not let up until Thursday afternoon. Sustained winds blowing at 20 miles per hour and gusts up to 50 mph created snow drifts reaching up to 5 feet in some places in Denver, especially in the northern suburbs. Long stretches of I-70, I-25, and I-76 were closed as it was impossible to plow through the blizzard.

The weather system led to school shutdowns in New Mexico because of the heavy snow and freezing rain, before moving across Colorado, which was the worst hit. Some mountain regions received up to 4 feet of snow, not counting the drifts. The system slowly moved northeastward and dumped fairly large amounts of snow in southeastern Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Kansas.