DENVER (KDVR) — On October 24-26 of 1997 a major blizzard arrived in Colorado and buried the Denver metro area in 14 to 31 inches of snowfall, caused power outages, stranded thousands of people and cost millions of dollars in lost sales and production.
The blizzard was also deadly.
“Three people in El Paso County perished from carbon monoxide poisoning after waiting for help to come in their snowbound vehicles for over 24 hours. Another person froze to death in a vehicle on post at Fort Carson in the Colorado Springs area. An elderly woman in Otero County tried to walk home after her vehicle became stuck in open country. She froze to death. A man in Bent County froze to death in open country while hunting, or looking for other hunters. Another man died in a vehicle accident in Pueblo during the blizzard Friday night,” the National Weather Service explained.
An estimated 20,000 cattle were also killed during the blizzard.
The NWS said the heaviest snowfall happened in the foothills and areas southwest of the city.
The snow was not the only thing that caused major impacts. Strong winds were sustained at 40 mph and gusted up to 60 mph. The wind caused zero visibility. It also dropped wind chill temperatures from 25 to 40 below zero, the NWS said.
The NWS in Pueblo took two photos three minutes apart on Oct. 25, showing how deep the snow drifted.
In the Denver metro area, snow totals ranged from 14-31 inches. Here is a look at some of the monster totals from the NWS in southeast Colorado:
- Palmer Lake: 52 inches with 15 feet of snow drifts
- Monument: 48 inches with six to 10 feet of snow drifts
- Black Forest: 36-48 inches with five feet of snow drifts
- Walsenburg: 33 inches
- La Junta: 24-36 inches with five to 15 feet of snow drifts
- Rye: 24 inches
- Colorado Springs (Rustic Hills): 24 inches with four to eight feet of snow drifts
- Penrose: 24 inches
- Eads: 24 inches with 12 feet of snow drifts
- Haswell: 24 inches with five feet of snow drifts
- Woodland Park: 24 inches
- Colorado Springs (airport): 20 inches
- Green Mountain Falls: 20-24 inches with three feet of snow drifts
- Colorado Springs (Briargate): 18-24 inches with six feet of snow drifts
- Manitou: 18-24 inches
- Florissant: 18-24 inches
- Las Animas: 18 inches with six feet of snow drifts
- Kim: 16-20 inches eight to 10 feet of snow drifts
- Springfield: 16-20 inches with eight feet of snow drifts
- Texas Creek: 15-21 inches
- Lamar: 12-24 inches with six feet of snow drifts
- Granada: 12-24 inches
- Westcliffe: 12-18 inches with four feet of snow drifts
- Holly: 12-15 inches with three to four feet of snow drifts
- Colorado Springs (Skyway): 12 inches
- Yoder: 12 inches with 15 feet of snow drifts
- Calhan: 12 inches with 12 feet of snow drifts
- Pueblo West: 12 inches with two feet of snow drifts
- Trinidad: 11-14 inches with five feet of snow drifts
- Buena Vista: nine to 12 inches
- Colorado Springs (Oak Hills): 10 inches
- Salida: 10-16 inches
- Pueblo Airport: eight inches with seven feet of snow drifts
- Canon City: six inches
- Howard: nine inches
Photos from the blizzard
Here are some of the photos taken by FOX31 during the blizzard:
The NWS said a state of emergency was declared during the blizzard. The U.S. Army, the National Guard, law enforcement, other public resources, and private citizens helped rescue people who were stranded.