Colorado is bracing itself for the first serious snowstorm of the coming winter season.
The first major snowstorm of the season came in force overnight Sunday, battering the mountains with heavy snow that clogged traffic, cancelled school and left more than 10,000 high country homes without power into Monday morning.
The National Weather Service issued storm warnings and advisories for most of the central and northern Colorado mountains starting on Sunday and lasting through Monday at midnight.
The outages began at around 8 p.m. on Sunday night and affected nearly 45,000 homes in the mountain region. Roughly half of those lasted less than five minutes, but as of 11 a.m. there were still more than 10,000 homes without power.
The early snowfall also disrupted trafic on I-70:
Simultaneous closures at major choke points on Interstate 70 at the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel and Vail Pass left drivers marooned in Georgetown and at a shelter in Vail, which soon filled to capacity.
There was no serious injury or fatality crashes in the Summit County or Vail Pass area.
The timing of the storm is not wholly unprecedented, but it was unique in that it lingered over Summit and Eagle counties all night, maximizing accumulations here.
It was a very slow-moving snowstorm. What’s special was the jet stream wasn’t moving much, and some areas were getting one to two inches per hour last night.