Snow, bitter cold on the way for New Year’s Eve |

Snow, bitter cold on the way for New Year’s Eve

DENVER (AP) – A storm that brought 2 feet of new snow to southwest Colorado was also bringing snow, wind and bitter cold to the northeast corner of the state Thursday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation had more than 80 snowplows clearing roads Thursday morning from Fort Collins to Boulder to Sterling in northeast Colorado.

In southwest Colorado, Wolf Creek Ski Area was reporting 2 feet of new snow in the last 24 hours, Silverton Mountain reported 22 inches and Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort reported 20 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area snow reporter Jamie Heirtzler lives in Pagosa Springs, about a half hour’s drive from the ski area, and said, “It was snowing pretty hard on the way up to the mountain. It was pretty much a whiteout.”

He said crews were plowing the snow-covered roads, “but it was tough to keep up with.”

Some airlines already were rebooking people who had tickets for trips passing through Denver and Colorado mountain towns Thursday and Friday.

The National Weather Service said snow could fall at a rate close to an inch an hour starting Thursday evening in the Denver area, which has largely missed out on the snow that has been hitting Colorado’s mountains this month.

In northeast Colorado, forecasters warned of wind chill readings near 20 below zero, with 6 to 10 inches of snow.

It’s been a dry season since farmers planted winter wheat in the fall, and Haxtun wheat farmer Dan Anderson said the snow may be more dry than wet. Still, he said it should at least help insulate crops from getting killed by cold temperatures.

It’s still too early to say how the harvest will turn out in July.

“My grandpa used to say wheat has nine lives, and you have to kill it eight times before you finally get it in the bin,” said Anderson, president of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee. “Spring time will really dictate what we’re going to end up with.”

As of Thursday morning, the statewide snowpack was 134 percent of average, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Upper Rio Grande basin was the only one in the state that was below average, at 98 percent.

Forecasters also were expecting blizzard conditions across the border in southeastern Wyoming, with visibility reduced to less than a quarter mile at times.

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