Department of Transportation officials said plunging temperatures and heavy, wet snow created icy road conditions, and multiple accidents were reported on two interstates, frustrating skiers and snowboarders in the mountain areas eager to get a few more runs in before the season ends.
Barjenbruch said a foot of snow had already fallen in the foothills of Larimer County northwest of Denver by Sunday morning, and workers along much of the Front Range can expect a “slushy, sloppy morning commute” Monday.
The weather service also warned that snow could be heavy and wet enough to snap tree limbs and power lines, causing power failures. Winds gusting up to 30 mph could reduce visibility, and slushy roads could be treacherous to drive.
Julie Smith, a spokeswoman for Denver International Airport, said crews have treated runways in anticipation of dropping temperatures Sunday night.
“At this point we are seeing some delays with our airlines while they are getting their deicing operations up and running, and we do expect the airlines to be fully deicing in the morning,” she said.
Meanwhile, Denver officials plan to deploy up to 70 snowplows overnight to prepare for Monday’s commute.
In southern Wyoming, the storm forced transportation officials to close a 150-mile stretch of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to Rawlins on Sunday.
The weather service said mountainous areas in south-central Wyoming got up to 2 feet of snow, and the metro areas of Cheyenne and Laramie averaged 6 to 10 inches. Rob Cox, a weather service meteorologist in Cheyenne, said he expects more accumulation overnight, likely an additional 2 to 4 inches in some locations.
“There will be a lot of water after all this is said and done,” he said, adding that there could be some localized flooding.
In the West, high winds at the bottom of the storm sent dust blowing across Arizona and New Mexico, and the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas were under “red flag” fire warnings, with authorities saying blazes could quickly spread out of control under low humidity, gusty winds and dry conditions.