Winter weather causes mountain travel troubles; slide buries Berthoud Pass in 20 feet of snow

DENVER -- Snow and wind gusts up to 90 mph closed several highways in the mountains on Wednesday morning.

U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass was closed as crews did avalanche mitigation work. A large slide covered the road with 20 feet of snow, the Colorado Department of Transportation said. A lengthy closure is expected.

Interstate 70 had a safety closure in both directions between Frisco and Copper Mountain because of poor visibility and high winds early Wednesday morning, but it reopened about 6 a.m.

A rollover crash injured one person in the eastbound lanes of I-70 at Herman Gulch just east of the Eisenhower Tunnel about 7:45 a.m., the Colorado State Patrol said.

Eastbound I-70 closed at Exit 147 in Eagle at 9:30 a.m. for the recovery of a rolled over semitruck, the Colorado State Patrol said.

U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass was closed because of adverse conditions. Hourly holds were in place at the Eisenhower Tunnel to allow hazardous materials trucks to get through.

U.S. 50 over Monarch Pass reopened after being closed because of blowing snow and zero visibility. Colorado 14 was also closed in both directions between U.S. 40 and Walden but one lane of alternating traffic opened about 9:30 a.m.

Snow and wind gusts from 40 mph to 90 mph are expected Wednesday. The snow will wind down in the afternoon, but not before an additional 3-6 inches across the central mountains, 4-8 inches in the northern mountains and 1-3 inches in the southern mountains. Highs will be in the 30s and 40s.

It will be windy at times in the Denver metro area. A shifting cold front over the northeastern Plains will at times move west, brushing Denver and northern Colorado, then get pushed back east by strong westerly winds.

It might deliver a rain shower to the Front Range or ice to northeast Colorado. Highs in the metro area will push toward 60 around noon before falling to the low 50s by the evening rush.

Sunshine will dominate the forecast in the metro area on Thursday and Friday, allowing temperatures to soar well above the average high of 45 degrees.

There could be afternoon readings in the upper 60s on Thursday and flirt with 70 degrees by Friday. The record high on Friday is 71 from 1951 that could be in jeopardy.

A cold front is expected to arrive late Saturday into Sunday. It will bring rain showers Saturday evening that will change to snow overnight and into early on Sunday.

Accumulation of 1-3 inches across metro Denver is not out of the question.