The Colorado Department of Transportation issued the following news release ahead of the storm expected to hit the Front Range today:Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance personnel are gearing up for a significant spring storm expected to impact much of the state in varying degrees today through tomorrow. The storm is impacting western portions of the state and will continue to move easterly.
Blizzard conditions are expected along the I-25 corridor and east of I-25 where wind gusts are forecasted to be 45-65 mph. Closures are possible on major corridors such as I-76 and I-70, as well as on I-25 at Monument Hill and the Palmer Divide, depending on the severity of the weather conditions.
Hardest hit areas are expected to be along the northern Front Range, the Eastern Plains and the Denver metro region. The storm will start out as rain this morning and is expected to transition to snow this afternoon with high winds combined with slushy, icy and snow-packed road conditions While the morning commute will be clear, the weather is expected to turn into blizzard conditions this afternoon, prior to the evening commute.
While it is spring, winter weather still has its grip on Colorado. Roads can be slick even if snow is not sticking. Wind conditions are expected to be intense, which can create visibility issues. During Work Zone Awareness Week in particular, CDOT reminds motorists to be careful in work zones and stay out of the way while plow drivers are doing their jobs to keep everyone safe.
What motorists need to know:Avoid driving during the storm this afternoon, particularly along the I-25 corridor at Monument Hill. If you can, leave early to avoid driving in the storm during this evening’s commute.
If you are out, take it SLOW, leave plenty of room behind the plows and the vehicles ahead and make sure you have appropriate winter tires with good tread for the snow.
Be prepared with an emergency kit, including water, food, blankets, extra clothing, etc.
Know before you go by checking cotrip.org.Statewide, CDOT maintenance crews and equipment are prepared.
The following provides brief details of what is expected between now and Thursday; but motorists are encouraged to check conditions before heading out via CDOT’s numerous communications tools (see below):Denver Metro Area:Rain turning to snow and blizzard conditions this afternoon afternoon. Road conditions will be wet, then turning to slush as it snows. As temperatures drop, the slush will freeze with snow-packed conditions prior to the evening commute, with windy conditions through the night.100 CDOT plows will be deployed in the Denver metro area through the storm. They are fully prepared with equipment and de-icing materials. Roads will not be pre-treated with a salt and water mixture called brine because rain would wash the treatment away. As it snows, crews will apply de-icing materials to help break up the slush, snow and ice.While it is snowing, crews make multiple passes on the interstates. They focus first on the most heavily traveled major routes during the height of the storm, before moving onto the secondary routes.I-25 Monument HillRoad closures are possible during the storm due to the potential of heavy snow accumulations, gusting winds and blizzard conditions. Snow, icy conditions, wind with blowing and drifting snow are expected, making for hazardous driving conditions and low visibility. Northeast ColoradoBlizzard conditions expected in all areas east of the I-25 corridor with winds gusting 45 to 65 miles per hour. I-25 north of Denver to Wyoming is expected to have slush, snow and ice. Road closures are possible.Southeast ColoradoColorado Springs will see rain develop in the afternoon along with windy conditions. High winds will continue into the evening as rain turns to snow. Blowing snow could lead to low visibility. Wet, slushy roadways are expected as snow accumulates. Gusting winds will move into the southeastern portion of the state early Wednesday. As snow develops later in the day, wind gusts will increase to 40 to 60 mph, possibly creating low visibility and hazardous driving conditions. I-70 Mountain Corridor and Northwest ColoradoSnow totals of eight to 16 inches possible in the higher elevations. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph will create poor visibility and blowing snow. Lows overnight dipped into the lower 20's creating icy road conditions. Lower elevations in Northwest Colorado will see rain that could turn to freezing rain and create challenging driving conditions.Southwest & South-Central ColoradoThe southwest and south-central portions of the state will experience isolated but widespread snow and rain showers. Significant snow accumulations at higher elevations will make travel difficult, especially over mountain passes. Snow squalls with heavy bands of moisture, high winds and blowing snow will reduce visibility. SPRING STORM TRAVEL INFORMATION & TIPS:Log onto CDOT’s traveler information site at: www.COTRIP.org
Log onto CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/winter-driving for road conditions winter driving tips and other informationCDOT also provides travel information and frequent updates through Twitter and Facebook.
Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.
If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.
Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle's safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock de-icer.
Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.
Know the chain laws. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks).
Drive for the conditions. In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don't drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents.
In addition to these winter driving tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road (including plow trucks). Of course, always buckle up!
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