A powerful spring snow storm was expected over the next three days to blanket parts of the U.S. Rockies and central High Plains where forecasters warned of whiteout conditions, power outages and avalanches.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued blizzard warnings for parts of Wyoming and western Nebraska, where quickly accumulating snowfall of up to 2 feet (61 cm) and fierce winds reaching 65 miles (105 km) per hour could cause dangerous conditions from Saturday (March 13) through Monday (March 15).
The weather service told travellers who must be on the road to carry emergency supplies and flashlights. It also warned that strong winds and the heavy snow could cause extensive damage to trees and power lines.
To the south in Colorado, the I-25 urban corridor, where five million people live in cities such as Denver, was expected to get 2 feet of snow and 35 mph winds throughout the weekend.
At Denver International Airport, 1,979 weekend flights in and out of the nation’s fifth busiest airport were cancelled ahead of the storm, according to aviation tracking web site Flight Aware.
Utility company Xcel Energy said this week that it was “ramping up the number of crews” to respond to any possible power outages caused by the heavy, wet snow.
The NWS warned travellers and skiers in higher elevations that avalanches could be easily triggered as snow totals could rapidly accumulate, while Colorado Governor Jared Polis activated the state’s National Guard to respond to search and rescue requests over the weekend.
(Production: Kevin Mohatt, Vanessa Johnston)