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Spring storm brings powerful winds, closures, power outages

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Posted at 5:15 AM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 17:36:59-04

DENVER -- Wet, blowing snow that swept into the Front Range overnight shut down roads, schools and left thousands without power.

The Colorado Department of Transportation shut down both directions of Interstate 25 from Castle Rock to Colorado Springs due to blizzard conditions early Friday morning. The Colorado State Patrol said several semis were stuck on the highway and that Red Cross had set up a shelter for stranded drivers at the fairgrounds in Castle Rock. 

CDOT said some drivers had got onto the closed sections of I-25 from certain on-ramps amid dangerous conditions. Visibility in that section of I-25 was down to 50 feet in some areas. The department said they were unable to close every ramp. However, crews reopened the highway after conditions improved around 8 a.m.

Another significant closure is affecting travel on Interstate 70. CDOT closed both directions of the interstate from Airpark Road to Limon due to blizzard conditions. There is no estimated time on when the highway will reopen. See the full list of Travel Alerts from CDOT here.

Crews are also dealing with power outages. Strong winds brought down power lines in some parts of the Denver metro area. Xcel Energy reported more than 6,000 customers were without power at one point early Friday morning. Most of the power issues were resolved around before 8 a.m., but some areas saw outages linger into the later morning hours. A downed power line shut down traffic on Hampden at South Downing Street in Englewood for several hours. A map of the outages can be found here.

The storm is also bringing an early spring break to some kids across the Front Range. Cherry Creek, Elbert, Elizabeth, and Douglas County School Districts announced closures Friday. However, Douglas County was already on spring break. A full list of closures can be found here.

A blizzard warning is in effect for the southeast Metro area to Castle Rock, Strasburg and Limon until Noon. The storm will exit the state by mid afternoon with clearing skies and lighter winds. See the full forecast here.

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