Can’t get there from here: Grand County hemmed in by mountain pass closures
Grand County, Colorado
Winds were so strong Wednesday morning, a crow spotted near Granby flapping its wings in mid-flight couldn’t make any headway.
Passes in high elevations recorded winds in excess of 70 mph with the storm that blew in with the storm, according to the National Weather Service. At lower mountain elevations, winds were from 20 to 35 mph.
Because Berthoud, Loveland and Rabbit Ears passes were closed most of the morning and into the day, the U.S. Postal Service, scores of delivery trucks and other travelers were forced to detour onto Highway 9.
Mail-delivery lost about one hour.
“The mail will go through,” said Grand Lake Postmaster Diane Mahoney.
A steady stream of traffic traveled Highway 9, and Kremmling at the pivot point experienced increased traffic from those turning around on their way to Steamboat, according to Kremmling Police Chief Scott Spade.
But Kremmling businesses, such as Big Shooter Coffee and Kum and Go, reported average sales despite the extra traffic.
Chris Schultz of Shamrock Foods in Denver was on time with deliveries to Carrie’s Corner Cafe in Granby by mid-morning, even though he had to reroute through Kremmling. The driver said he left much earlier than usual to make scheduled stops.
Fortunately for Schultz, Berthoud Pass opened by 12:45 p.m. so his route wouldn’t have to backtrack from Winter Park to Kremmling.
Rabbit Ears was closed most of Wednesday with the greatest hits of snowfall.
Steamboat Ski Resort reported 16 to 18 inches of new snow by 5 a.m., and another 2.5 to 4 inches by mid-morning Wednesday. Two lifts delayed opening due to avalanche work.
Winter Park Resort measured 4 new inches around 6 a.m.
The National Weather Service’s storm warning for Colorado’s northern mountain region was predicted to last until 5 p.m. Wednesday. The storm was expected to trail off as the evening progressed.
Today (Thursday) should bring snow showers after midnight and continuing into Friday, said Weather Program Manager Jim Keeney of the National Weather Service, Central Region.
“Based on the snow falling in the month of December, the area is running above normal for early in the season,” Keeney said.
As of Jan. 1, Middle Park was 14 inches ahead of normal snow accumulation.
Although shots of snow through next week could compound present avalanche danger, the good news is the trend toward “higher snow totals up there could mean a better water year next summer,” Keeney said.
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