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High winds, dust storm shut down highways in eastern Colorado

I-70 reopens from just east of Denver to Kansas
cheyenne wells dust storm
Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 17:33:29-05

DENVER – Interstate 70 is back open after Colorado State Patrol shut it down in both directions from just east of Denver to the Kansas border because of a dust storm that left drivers with zero visibility and led to several crashes Friday morning.

CDOT said I-70 was back open in both directions just before 3:15 p.m.

High wind warnings are in effect until 5 p.m. across the Eastern Plains, where sustained winds out of the northwest will be 30-40 miles per hour, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS Boulder office also has put a Dust Storm Warning into effect until 1:15 p.m. for Prowers, Baca, Kiowa and Bent counties because of the dust storm, which carried 60 mile per hour winds with it. The notice warns of “dangerous life-threatening travel” and visibility of less than a quarter mile.

And a Blowing Dust Warning is in effect for much of the Eastern Plains until 2 p.m. The NWS said the winds will blow unsecured objects around, down trees and possibly result in power outages.

Colorado State Patrol said at 11:20 a.m. that troopers were working a crash that left several people injured on I-70 and said the interstate “will remain closed for an extended time.”

Highway 40 was also shut down west of Cheyenne Wells around 11 a.m. because of low visibility and several crashes. And just after 11:30 a.m., Highway 287 was shut down between Lamar and Kit Carson.

Colorado State Patrol said just before 1 p.m. that one people died in crashes on I-70 and up to 15 other people were hurt.

“Brown out conditions still exist due to wind. Expect a long closure,” CSP tweeted.

The agency said that troopers were still working to clear out cars stopped on the highway and were going car-to-car looking for people. Troopers and deputies were taking people to hospitals, and CSP said officials were running out of ambulances for transportation for patients.

Click here for the latest road conditions across the state and click here for the Denver7 traffic map.