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Photos: Exactly 23 years ago, a blizzard buried metro Denver in 2+ feet of snow


DENVER (KDVR) — On Oct. 24 and 25, 1997, a blizzard hit Colorado, dumping snow on the Front Range and Plains.

In metro Denver, snow totals ranged from 14 to 31 inches. In the foothills west of the city, 2 to 4 feet of snow fell over the course of two days.

Snow totals were also high in northern Colorado Springs and the Palmer Divide, which received more than 3 feet of accumulation.

With wind gusts above 35 mph, drifts were up to 15 feet tall, according to the National Weather Service.

Exactly 23 years later, and another wintery storm is heading toward Colorado. While it will bring much-needed moisture to the region, snow totals for the metro area will be nothing like those of the ’97 storm. But with 2-7 inches of accumulation expected alongside bitter cold temperatures, travel impacts will be significant.

The 1997 storm left thousands of people without power or heat and hundreds of vehicles were stuck and stranded on Interstate 25, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I rescued at least 35 vehicles in just two hours,” Officer Walter Greene told the LA Times at the time. “But heck, we were due a bad autumn storm. We haven’t had one in at least 10 years.”

Denver International Airport was impacted by the storm as people were trapped on Pena Boulevard, which blocked snowplows or other vehicles from entering or leaving the airport.

Wind chills during the storm ranged from -25 to -40 degrees.

At least seven people died in Colorado as a result of the storm, according to the NWS.

Below is a gallery of photos from the storm:

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