Weather clogs roads, closes schools and businesses

LAKEWOOD – The city began digging out from as much as 21 inches of snow Thursday as a slow-moving storm lingered through mid-afternoon on its slow move eastward.

The snow, slush and poor visibility clogged the morning rush for a second day and extended the season’s first weather related school closure in Jeffco to two days. City and county offices opened late and a number of local businesses remained closed.

Red Rocks Community College also is closed and students were urged to check with the school before heading out to class Friday. The weather also caused the postponement of a number of athletic events, including the first round of Boys Varsity soccer playoffs.

Jefferson County also canceled the Citizen Input Meeting scheduled for Thursday night at Belmar Library in Lakewood. Check http://www.jeffco.us for the latest information on rescheduling the meeting.

The National Weather Service expected snow to continue falling across the metro area into the night, but forecasters said the heaviest amounts will hit the southern and eastern suburbs as the storm moves eastward over the Plains. Blizzard conditions are expected in eastern Colorado tonight and Interstate 70 was closed from the metro area to the Kansas state line due to blowing and drifting snow as well as icy road conditions. A number of other highways in eastern Colorado also were closed, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Northbound lanes of Interstate 25 remained closed from Wellington to the Wyoming state line because of treacherous driving conditions.

Lakewood city streets varied from wet to snow-packed and slushy with patches of ice at some intersections.

City crews kept abreast of the storm, hitting major streets first, then moving into neighborhoods.

“It’s gone pretty well” Jay Hutchison, Lakewood’s Public Works director, said Thursday afternoon. “We did bring in some contract motor-graders and, through the course of last night and this morning, we were able to get to all of the residential streets as well as the priority routes.”

Some of the less-traveled residential streets were covered again as snow fell throughout the day, but city crews had turned their attention back to keeping the priority routes open and prepared for what is expected to be an icy Friday morning commute.

“There is quite a bit of moisture in this snow and, as temperatures drop overnight, I’m sure there are going to be areas that get icy,” Hutchison said. “But, unless things turn around, I think we are in pretty good shape.”

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