Mother Nature brought an early dose of winter to the Mile High City on Wednesday with snow and bitter cold. As the storm moves out, downed trees, power outages and some school closings remain.
The storm moved onto the Colorado Front Range Tuesday evening with rain that changed over to snow as temperatures dropped. On average Denver receives its first snowfall on October 19th which made this storm a bit later than average but not unusual.
In the Denver metro area, snow totals ranged from a few inches to as many as 9 in the western and northwestern suburbs. Denver International Airport recorded 8.5 inches, more than double the 4.1 inch average for the month of October.
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On the northern Front Range, Greeley and other rural communities in the area were hit hardest with more than a foot of snow as well. Many school districts in Weld County and some in Larimer County were forced to call a snow day due to power outages and snow covered roads.
Locations in the foothills like Black Hawk, Evergreen and Nederland reported upwards of a foot of snow.
Many more ski areas in Colorado were preparing to open for the season after a white bounty was delivered. Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 14 inches of new snow with Breckenridge receiving 15 inches and Beaver Creek 13 inches. Loveland Ski Area, already partially open for the season, added 10 inches to their base.
- Snowfall reports from the October 26, 2011 snowstorm
The heavy, wet snow brought down trees and tree branches along the Front Range. Xcel Energy reported a high of 200,000 homes and businesses without power on Wednesday. Some were restored before nightfall however many of those affected spent the bitter cold night without electricity.
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As of this morning, the power company is reporting more than 48,000 customers are without power in the state. In a statement, Xcel said, “We anticipate finding a lot of tree branches in our lines today and that clearing work must be done before line crews can restore power. We’ll be able to shift some tree crews that were working in the mountains to the metro area, so that will help.”
The majority of customers should have power restored tonight with some having to wait till tomorrow afternoon.
As the storm settled in, five participants at the sparsely occupied Occupy Denver protest suffered hypothermia according to organizers. Denver Police continue to arrest those that defy the law against camping in Civic Center Park and adjacent areas.
While the storm moved out before nightfall Wednesday, it left clearing skies which led to bitterly cold temperatures. Denver International Airport recorded an early morning low of 14 degrees, the coldest temperature the city has seen since March 5th.
Short work will be made of the recent snow thanks to warming temperatures and plenty of sun in the forecast. A gradual warming trend is forecast to continue through the weekend but next week may bring another round of snow.