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Colorado: Storm closes I-70, avalanche warning issued

Near whiteout conditions along I-70 at the Eisenhower Tunnel Thursday at 7 a.m..

*Updated – CDOT announced the re-opening of I-70 between Denver and the high country at 10:30 a.m., with Vail Pass remaining closed for avalanche control work.

Late winter storm hits I-70 corridor and Front Range

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The storm that rolled into the area late Wednesday night has left the high country partially cut off, with dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry.

Both I-70 and Loveland Pass closed early Thursday morning.I-70 eastbound was closed between Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel and westbound at the C-470 junction. Check www.CoTrip.org for updates.

In Summit County, the Breckenridge Free Ride and Summit Stage told riders to expect possible delays on many routes.

A winter storm warning is in effect through 11 a.m. Thursday. Snow totals ranged between 6 to 12 inches for the north-central mountains, with lesser amounts farther north, south and west. A-Basin reported 9 inches of snow  (14 inches in the past 48 hours), with 7 inches at Winter Park and Loveland, 12 inches at Eldora, 9 inches at Echo Mountain and 5 inches at Breckenridge.

Because of the heavy snow, combined with strong winds in the alpine zone, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning through 12 p.m. Friday covering the Vail-Summit zone, the Front Range mountains and the Steamboat-Flattops zone, where dangerous avalanche conditions are expected. Both triggered and natural slides are likely and backcountry travel is not recommended.

The snow extended east of the Continental Divide to the Front Range, where snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour were expected in parts of the Denver Metro area Thursday morning.

Foreacasters with the National Weather Service said the snowfall will taper off gradually Thursday morning, but not before another 2 to 4 inches falls across the area.

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