Spring snowstorm hits Denver area; tornado reports to the south

A spring storm that hit Colorado on Tuesday was not as strong as predicted but still powerful enough to bring highway-clogging snowfall to the Denver area, cause the cancellation of hundreds of flights and deliver blizzard conditions in some regions.

Wyoming took the brunt of the snowstorm as the cold front dawdled over that state rather than barrel through Colorado. More than a foot of snow fell in from Laramie to Lander, more than expected.

Originally, the National Weather Service was predicting a sizable snow accumulation in Denver, but predictions were revised downward in the area from more than 12 inches to about half that. As much as 10 inches of snow have already fallen in the state’s mountains.

Fierce winds blew from south of Denver to the New Mexico line with gusts of more than 50 mph. At least two tornadoes were reported. In Arizona, at least 30 miles of Interstate 40 were closed for several hours because of the swirling dust.

The storm moved in fast. Monday afternoon had been sunny and relatively warm in Denver, but in just hours, temperatures fell by double digits to the 40s. Winds peaked at more than 50 mph.

Snow is predicted through midweek. Blizzard conditions are posted from parts of Colorado to South Dakota.  Many Colorado schools closed Tuesday and traffic was a mushy mess.

About 465 flights at Denver International Airport were canceled and departing flights were delayed by as much as a half-hour.

Tuesday's high temperature in Denver will top out at 20 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.


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