Denver digs out from blizzard; roads ice over, schools closed, widespread power outages

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DENVER -- A blizzard that ranked in the top five for March has moved out of the Denver metro area, but it left behind a foot of snow, icy roads and cold temperatures.

Denver received 13.1 inches of snow at the official reporting station at Denver International Airport, making it the fifth-largest snowstorm in March in the city since record keeping began in the late 1800s.

But as temperatures dipped into the teens overnight Thursday, all that slushy snow turned to ice, causing headaches on the roadways in the Denver metro area.

Icy roads forced the closure of eastbound Interstate 70 between Federal Boulevard and Pecos Street because of multiple accidents and icy roads.

Westbound Interstate 70 between North Airpark Boulevard in Aurora and Burlington near the Kansas border reopened at 6:30 a.m., the Colorado Department of Transportation said. Westbound traffic reopened just after 8:30 a.m.

Several school districts closed for a second consecutive day, including those in Denver, Aurora, Cherry Creek and Adams County.

Denver snow plow drivers will be back on the city's main streets Thursday to place deicing materials as needed.

Power outages remained a concern throughout the state, with Xcel Energy reporting more than 26,000 customers without power as of 8:30 a.m., including 17,000 in the metro area.

Xcel said it has 800 workers in the field and another 200 personnel behind the scenes hoping to restore 97 percent of the power by late Thursday.

With the blizzard gone, sunshine will return to the metro area and will boost temperatures into the 40s. But with a foot of snow on the ground, it likely will feel colder and melting will be snow.

The mountains will have scattered snow showers, especially to the north. Winter weather advisories are in effect with 7-14 inches of snow expected by noon Friday. More accumulation is expected Friday night through Saturday with the next storm system.

Another round of snow is on the way for the Front Range on Friday night into early Saturday. The storm does not appear to be as potent as the blizzard, but 2-6 inches of snow is expected from Denver to Boulder to Fort Collins. Northern Colorado will be on the low end of the totals.

It will be cold for Easter sunrise services on Sunday. Skies should be mostly clear but temperatures will be in the 20s ahead of sunrise at 6:50 a.m. But sunshine should prevail during the day with a few high clouds and high near 50.

Sunshine returns next week as temperatures slowly make their way back toward the 60s.

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