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Live updates: Heavy snow causes traffic issues across Denver area, mountains

snow in Boulder
Posted at 10:15 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 01:44:18-04

DENVER — "Spring" is here, and so is the snow.

Rain turned to snow across the Denver area on Thursday morning — the first official day of spring — and it was only expected to pick up throughout the day.

The National Weather Service in Boulder's latest forecast discussion Thursday morning said "all signs point to heavier snow than our previous forecast," with 6-12 inches expected on the west side of the Denver metro and Boulder.

We were already expecting 4-9 inches across Denver and up to 15 inches in the foothills and Front Range mountains. Those snowfall projections are a wide range, but we'll see heavy bands of snow, at times, so the local amounts will vary.

The Weather Service earlier Thursday had forecasted the switch from rain to snow around noon in Denver, as warmer temperatures were expected. But the switch happened earlier, around 9 a.m., upping the snowfall forecast by 3-5 inches.

As the snow picks up, the roads will become slushy, and snowfall rates could reach 2 inches per hour in some areas.

Here's the latest snowfall projections from the Weather Service, as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday. This still calls for six inches in Denver, but note the shades of yellow and orange — indicating up to 12 inches — in and around the city.

StormTotalSnowWeb (11).png

Live updates

8:30 p.m. | DIA reports more than 1,000 cancellations due to weather

Denver International Airport reported more than 1,091 cancellations at the airport due to inclement weather. There have been 162 delays as of 8:30 p.m.

7:27 p.m. | US 40 closed both ways between Limon and Hugo

US 40 is closed in both directiosn between County Road 23 and 1st Ave. - from Limon to Hugo - due to adverse weather conditions, CDOT says.

7:04 p.m. | DIA says flight delays, cancellations possible Friday

Denver International Airport says that while the snow has slowed down in the Denver metro area, flight delays and cancellations are possible Thursday night and Friday morning, so make sure to check your flight status before you head out.

6:32 p.m. | I-25 reopening south of Castle Rock

I-25 is reopening between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock following a near 3-hour closure due to blizzard conditions in the area. CSP officials say it will be a clear sailing, so long as you take it slow between Colorado Springs and Denver. The speed limit through the GAP construction project remains at 45 mph.

6:03 p.m. | I-70 closed in both directions between Exit 292 and Exit 438

I-70 is closed in both directions between Exit 292 - US 36; Airpark Rod and Burlington due to adverse weather conditions, CDOT says. No estimated time for the reopening of the highway.

5:18 p.m. | I-25 closed in northern Colorado Springs

I-25 is closed from Plum Creek Parkway to Baptist Road in northern Colorado Springs due to crashes and blizzard conditions with blowing snow and high winds. SH 83 is also closed, per CDOT. There are no alternate routes.

4:50 p.m. | I-70 still closed on the plains

I-70 remained closed east of Denver, from Airpark Road to Limon, and the backup to head back west was piling up. Here's a look from the Colorado State Patrol:

4:20 p.m. | 42 plows in Aurora

Roads were slushy in Aurora heading into rush hour, and the city said it had 42 plows on city streets, working to keep the roads clear.

4:15 p.m. | U.S. 6 re-opened

U.S. 6 between Golden and Colorado 119, through Clear Creek Canyon, has been re-opened after a series of crashes.

3:45 p.m. | I-25 closed between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs.

This has been ongoing issue all afternoon and now I-25 is shut down again between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. Here's the update from CSP Castle Rock:

🙏

S1 pic.twitter.com/uKBeZp6MOx

— CSP Castle Rock (@CSP_CastleRock) March 19, 2020

3:05 p.m. | Visibility becoming an issue

Visibility will be a big issue on the roads today, with wind gusts blowing snow. Here's a look at the conditions on I-25 between Fort Collins and Denver:

3 p.m. | More Colorado highway closures

I-70 is closed between Aurora and Limon in both directions because of poor conditions. Westbound I-70 is closed at Burlington as well.

CSP Golden says there is a "pileup" on eastbound I-70 at Genesee, so the eastbound lanes are closed there and being diverted to U.S. 40. Westbound I-70 was closed from Genesee to Golden due to "extreme weather conditions" along Mt. Vernon Canyon.

U.S. 6 through Clear Creek Canyon is also closed in both directions between Golden and Highway 119 because of crashes in the canyon.

EB I-76 is closed between Exit 25 and the Nebraska border becaues of blizzard conditions.

US 287 is closed northbound between US 50 and County Road LL.

The left three lanes of NB I-25 are blocked between Castle Pines Parkway and RidgeGate Parkway because of a crash.

CO 113 is closed in both directions between US 138 and the Nebraska border.

CO 71 is closed in both directions between I-76 and County Road 84.

U.S. 34 is closed between Greeley and Interstate 76 (Wiggins).

Get the latest statewide closures at the COTrip page.

1:30 p.m. | Afternoon update with Denver7's Mike Nelson

Denver7 meteorologist Mike Nelson is giving an update on today’s snowstorm.

1 p.m. | Southbound I-25 closed south of Castle Rock

I-25 southbound is shut down south of Castle Rock after a crash involving multiple semi-trucks near Greenland, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

12:30 p.m. | I-70 closed in both directions east of Denver

Interstate 70 is closed in both directions in Watkins, east of Denver, according to CDOT. An Adams County deputy was involved in a rollover crash in the same area, the sheriff's office tweeted. The deputy was taken to a hospital and was awake and talking, the sheriff's office said. Colorado State Patrol was investigating the crash.

12:25 p.m. | Heavy snow in Aurora

Heavy snow was falling in Aurora, and it was already sticking to roads in some areas. Here's a look at Hampden and Buckley:

12:10 p.m. | I-70 shut down at Vail Pass

Eastbound Interstate 70 is shut down at Vail Pass due to multiple slide-offs and crashes, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Expect travel issues in the mountains all day.

Noon | U.S. 6 closed at Loveland Pass

U.S. 6 is shut down at Loveland Pass due to hazardous conditions on the road.

11:40 a.m. | A look at the snow in Boulder

The National Weather Service in Boulder tweeted a video of the snow falling at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour. Take a look:

11:35 a.m. | CDOT: Leave work early today

The Colorado Department of Transportation is urging commuters to leave work by 2 p.m. to avoid the worst of the road conditions. Snow is expected to continue through the day, and temperatures will drop quickly later in the day. Snowfall of 1-2 inches per hour and poor visibility was expected in the Denver area this afternoon. Even heavier snow was expected near the Palmer Divide, along the I-25 Gap.

CDOT deployed 100 plows in the Denver area alone on Thursday. Motorists are encouraged to avoid I-70 in the mountains, with heavy snow expected on Floyd Hill.

11:30 a.m. | Snow accumulating on roads

With steady snow across the Front Range, some roads are starting to get slush and snow-covered. Here's a look from around the area, via the NWS Boulder and CDOT.

10:30 a.m. | Pass closures

Expect closures on U.S. 6 at Loveland Pass and U.S. 40 at Berthoud Pass on Thursday, as crews work on avalanche mitigation, according to Colorado Department of Transportation. Heavy snow was expected in the area, so visibility and other hazardous conditions will also be a problem.