A powerful winter storm made for difficult driving conditions all across the Pikes Peak region and dumped at least eight inches of snow in the Tri-Lakes area.
The snow started in the Pacific Ocean and moved across the southwest bringing snow to Arizona before moving into Colorado. The snow started falling in the early evening on Feb. 20 at a rate of two inches per hour in some parts of the region. The snowstorm forced the closure of all school districts in the region and many delays. Even El Paso County offices were closed.
As the storm headed out of the area it made its way east to the Great Plains and Mid-west creating blizzard conditions in some areas. In Wichita up to 11 inches of snow fell and Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago were preparing for several inches as well according to the Weather Channel. From Ohio to Arkansas ice storms were expected.
Tom Magnuson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said that the storm was a really large system with a lot of moisture to work with.
“Even in California and Arizona before it got here it brought in moisture from the Pacific Ocean and once it reached New Mexico and southeastern Colorado it brought moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. It's a pretty widespread system,” Magnuson said.
Magnuson said the storm will alleviate some of the drought but there is still a long way to go.
“I'm sure it's going to help a little bit. We got some pretty good snow in the mountains and some along the I-25 corridor but the snow's going to melt and the ground is going to dry up again,” Magnuson said. “We need several of these things to come through and help us out. We're hoping for more of these (storms) in the next month.”
The snowstorm called for snow plows to help clear snow packed roads all over the county, Monument and Palmer Lake. El Paso County had their snow plows out beginning at 3 p.m. They had 34 plows and 20 graders out on county roads.
Monument public works director Tom Tharnish said all three plows were out and by Thursday morning all primary and secondary roads were cleared.
“We did a pretty good job,” Tharnish said of clearing the roads.
More snow was forecast for Friday and Sunday and for the middle of the week.
Second Storm produces mor snow.
A second winter storm hit over the weekend creating blizzard conditions along the Palmer Divide and northern El Paso County.
Some areas received up to a foot of snow and wind and blowing snow made for low visibility and icy roads on Sunday from Northgate Boulevard to Monument up to Palmer Lake and Black Forest. The conditions made driving treacherous. A semi-truck jackknifed on Monument Hill as it was travelling on northbound Interstate 25 and in a separate accident a pick-up truck slid off the road on northbound I-25 and hit a power pole. Colorado State Patrol said the driver was transported to Penrose-St. Francis Hospital with minor injuries.
Bob Wilson, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said at no time did the interstate have to be shut down.