Snowstorm causes crashes, outages

The weekend’s snowstorm that left more than a foot of snow in some places by Sunday morning, caused numerous traffic accidents and a small weather-related power outage.

Another foot of snow could fall by this evening, according to the National Weather Service, which means snowpack levels are getting near normal.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Mike Baker said from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday, the State Patrol responded to 32 accidents with property damage from the Utah border near Cortez to Archuleta County, but with most of those in the Durango area. There were two injury accidents and one driving under the influence injury accident after midnight.

A vehicle accident about 12:40 p.m. Saturday in the 8000 block of U.S. Highway 550 south of Durango cut power to about 900 customers of La Plata Electric Association for 2˝ hours. The accident knocked down a utility pole which was temporarily re-erected, LPEA said in a news release.

Durango Police Department responded to 14 crashes, some with minor injuries, through about noon Sunday, said Sgt. Rita Wilson of the Durango Police Department.

Wilson reminded drivers that warm temperatures can melt snow on the roads, which later freezes and turns to ice.

“Sometimes, the roads can be deceiving,” she said. “Everybody just needs to slow down.”

Weather Service meteorologist Norv Larson said the foothills of the San Juan Mountains could see about a foot of snow by tonight on top of the snow already on the ground. This second storm will be followed an arctic system that will keep temperatures lower at the beginning of the week compared with last week’s temperatures.

Larson said highs today for the Durango area will be in the 20s, rising to about freezing Tuesday and Wednesday, and then rising to the 40s or so by Saturday.

He also said the National Resources Conservation Service is reporting snowpack in the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins was about 89 percent of normal.

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort at 1:45 p.m. Sunday reported it received 15 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. That brought the midway base to 58 inches and season-to-date snowfall total to 141 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area at 2 p.m. Sunday reported 20 inches of snow in the previous 24 hours, bringing the summit base to 76 inches and midway to 73 inches. The area has so far recorded season-to-date snowfall at 218 inches.