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Snow downs trees across Fort Collins, slowing commute, closing U.S. 287

6:08 PM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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FORT COLLINS - Seven to 9 inches of thick, heavy snow pulled down tree limbs and branches in Fort Collins and caused closure of U.S. 287 from Ted's Place to Wyoming.

The trolley line that runs between City Park and Old Town was ripped to the ground by debris falling from large trees, and police were on scene on Mountain Avenue as city staff arrived to deal with the mess.

Numerous power outages affected rural areas north and west of Fort Collins, as well as Livermore and Carter Lake areas, served by Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association.

"Our crews have been working continuously since the first outages were reported late last night," the utility's CEO Brad Gaskill said in a news release. "We urge everyone to avoid downed power lines or any areas where trees are in contact with lines or other electrical equpment."

About 17 percent (6,225) of its customers were affected, and power to most of them was restored by Wednesday afternoon. Details of the outages are available on the utility's website.

In Fort Collins city limits, most power lines are buried underground, and the city has been largely free of outages. The city announced Wednesday morning that areas of the Poudre and Spring Creek recreation trails are closed until branches are removed, and users are urged to be cautious.

Overnight temperatures only kissed freezing, so roads through town are mostly slushy and watery. The snowstorm that dropped up to 15 inches at higher elevations is expected to taper off as it moves south Wednesday afternoon, said meterorologist Don Day with DayWeather in Cheyenne.

"I know this is miserable for a lot of folks, but this water is like gold, really," Day said.

Between Tuesday night's rainfall and Wednesday's snow, the Fort Collins area received as much as an inch and a half of water.

"The contrast of this year to last is really quite remarkable," he said, adding that it will "pay dividends" in fighting back drought conditions as above-average precipitation fell the past four to five weeks.

Wednesday night temperatures are to drop into the low 20s, which could mean trouble for motorists with so much moisture on the ground.

"Tonight and tomorrow night, folks need to watch out for black ice," Day said.

Interstate 25 is slushy with icy spots and packed snow, but there are no closures from Fort Collins to Denver or Wyoming.

Plows, tractors and shovelers are working hard to clear the way for traffic through town as the city digs out of the springtime storm. And Day said we may not have seen the last of snow this season.

"There's no significant storm on the radar the next five to six days, but the weather patterns remain active into May," he said. "It would be premature to say we're done (with snow)."

(Copyright © 2013 Fort Collins Coloradoan, All Rights Reserved)

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