Spring Storm Briefly Shuts Down I-70

16 Inches Expected In Mountains

A heavy spring snowstorm moving across Colorado Thursday was expected to dump up to 16 inches of snow in the high country.

Wintry weather has been blamed for a rash of minor accidents that closed westbound Interstate 70 for about 90 minutes just west of Denver.

Up to 40 cars were involved in minor accidents on U.S. 36 near Lyons, 30 miles northwest of Denver.

State Patrol Master Trooper Ron Watkins described them as fender-benders or vehicles sliding off the roadway. Watkins said no injuries were reported in either place.

The storm has dropped up to five inches in Douglas County and Boulder County received more than three inches.

The storm prompted authorities to require chains on commercial vehicles on more than a half-dozen mountain passes, including Loveland Pass.

Loveland ski area, one of about three Colorado resorts still open, reported six inches.

The National Weather Service said eight to 16 inches of snow could fall in the northern mountains. Up to 11 inches is forecast for the central mountains.

A heavy snow warning issued by the weather services says, "Don't be fooled by the date."

I-70 in the mountains closed just after 9 a.m. and reopened at about 11:15 a.m. I-70 in the plains, was closed Thursday afternoon. Eastbound I-70 at Airpark and westbound I-70 at Bennett was closed at 4:45 p.m. due to an accident. Drivers are encouraged to detour on U.S. Highway 36.

The high country was getting pummeled with snow and roads were slushy, icy and snowpacked. Snow also fell in the metro area but did not accumulate on the roads.

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