A blizzard Monday at the summit of America’s Mountain will be a day one Colorado ranger says he will never forget.
“One of the most stressful days I’ve had at work in a long time,” said ranger Stephen “Pete” Peterson, who captured footage of whiteout conditions in June on Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. “A day I’ll never forget!”
Peterson arrived at the 14,000-foot summit at noon and then, “BAM!” he detailed in a post on social media.
“A major storm erupts, and we’re in blizzard conditions within minutes,” he said as the storm forced evacuations due to the heavy snow and winds topping 50 mph. “We had 20-30 cars up on and near summit who were all leaving just as the blizzard arrived.”
Peterson said the conditions worsened to the point where all the drivers had to stop because the roads were icing up with no visibility.
Peterson said he was working with a few other rangers at the summit and found themselves suddenly coming up with a plan to keep everyone safe. They went vehicle-to-vehicle informing the drivers to stay put and keep their engine running. They also told them they would be back to give them a ride into the visitor center.
“We took the elderly and families with young children in first and continued on for an hour or two… car by car,” Peterson said. “Some weathered the storm inside their cars and the others remained in the visitor center.”
“I’m almost to the Devil’s Playground” – in the middle of a blizzard…in June. ❄️
Ranger Stephen Peterson captured the intense blizzard conditions atop Pike’s Peak in Colorado as he worked to get visitors stranded at the summit to a visitor’s center for shelter. #COwx pic.twitter.com/9I1oPf5dmE
— AccuWeather (@accuweather) June 15, 2023
According to Peterson, they got a break in storm about 45 minutes after he and three other rangers gathered in prayer in the midst of the storm.
“I start plowing,” he said. “I haven’t plowed in over 31 years… back to 1992 when I was in the Air Force and in Alaska.”
Soon after, a Peterson said a road crew arrived with a massive snow plow and “worked their magic.”
“Some families chose to leave their vehicles there and ride the train down,” he said. “Others, returned to their vehicle and drove down slowly.”
The entire ordeal lasted nearly 4 hours. After all was said and done, there were no injuries, Peterson adds.
Family after family showed their support for Peterson and the other rangers as they were thanked and hugged for saving their lives. [FoxWeather]
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