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A very white Christmas

Posted by Richard on December 21, 2006

It’s shaping up to be the worst winter storm to hit eastern Colorado in many years. At 6:30 AM, it was snowing moderately, and my 20-minute commute (18 miles, almost all interstate) took 40 minutes. Mid-morning, the snow became heavy and the wind really picked up. As I headed for home around lunchtime, the Dept. of Transportation imposed the chain law (requiring chains on commercial vehicles) in the Denver metro area. I can’t remember the chain law ever applying to metro Denver. The plows on I-25 clearly weren’t able to keep up with the heavy snowfall. My trip home took an hour and a half. In a 4WD SUV.

It’s been snowing easily an inch per hour all afternoon, and it’s expected to continue at least through tomorrow morning. Just about every highway in eastern Colorado is shut down in one or more places, including I-70 and I-25. The Postal Service suspended mail service. RTD is suspending bus service and limiting light rail. The governor declared a state of emergency. And tonight’s Nuggets basketbrawl game has been canceled.

For most of the day, Denver International Airport management, which insists that the multi-billion dollar facility is an "all-weather airport," maintained that they were open for business. But, um, they really didn’t recommend trying to drive to it through the whiteout blizzard conditions east of Denver because, um, well … you’d probably end up sleeping in the terminal for a couple of days because … um, well … there was this lack of takeoffs and landings … but the airport was still open! Honest! Well, they’ve finally given up and closed down until Thursday evening. I think that officially makes this a Monster Storm.

Those of you in milder climes who want to experience it vicariously can find lots of stories and photos at the 9News, CBS4Denver, Rocky Mountain News, and 850 KOA websites. It’s definitely going to be a White Christmas in Denver — ho, ho, ho!

UPDATE: The entire length of I-25 from Wyoming to New Mexico, including through Denver, is now closed. Hasn’t happened before in the 23 years I’ve lived here. Somebody call Al Gore and tell him we need more greenhouse gases — pronto!

12/21 UPDATE: The sun came out late this afternoon, so the storm’s over. It looks like it will go in the record books as the fourth-worst snowstorm in Denver history, with over 2 feet. Totals around the metro area ranged from about 20 to over 40 inches. I measured 21.5 on the level in my front yard. Drifts in the back looked about 3 feet deep.

Flights in and out of Colorado Springs resumed about noon. Jefferson County airport reopened in the afternoon. Denver International? They’re still plowing runways. They plan to open at noon Friday. I’m sure that some of the 5000 people who were stranded there overnight were a bit bemused to learn that the nation’s most modern, multi-billion dollar "all-weather" airport might be the last one in the state to resume operations.
 

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6 Responses to “A very white Christmas”

  1. T F Stern said

    You can always throw another Blog on the fire…

  2. Anonymous said

    Groan!

  3. Mortimer Snurd said

    Are you dead yet?!

    Have you been forced to eat your neighbors, or have you been eaten?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Should we send sterno?

    WG

  4. Anonymous said

    I’m not dead, I’m only sleeping. Someone nailed my feet to the perch. New post with pictures coming soon. Don’t send sterno — send 18-year-old Caol Ila. Or Dalmore Cigar Malt.

  5. Mortimer Snurd said

    Hooray! Hooray!

    He is not dead.

    He doth but sleep.

    And drink wierd scotch.

    And not drink sterno.

    WG

  6. Anonymous said

    Mort, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who think there’s nothing weird about the Caol Ila and Dalmore bottlings, they’re fine examples of Scotch, and those who think all Scotch is weird, and thus “weird Scotch” is an oxymoron.

    In any case, I know something about your taste in potent potables, and I’m not inclined to rely on you as a guide to quality. 😉

    Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

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