Revisiting the Colorado Holiday Blizzard

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During the winter of 2006-07, a series of major snowstorms hit Colorado. The blizzard shut down Denver International Airport, leaving about 40,000 travelers stranded for nearly 2 days and caused about two dozen deaths in the region. As a new winter approaches, people living in the Boulder area should start preparing for possible storms. Revisiting the Colorado holiday blizzard shows that some efforts work better than others.

The First Blizzard

The first blizzard struck Colorado on December 20th, dumping an incredible 32 inches of snow on Boulder. Monument, Colorado received 27 inches and Littleton struggled under the weight of 22 inches. Snowdrifts near Denver grew to five feet.

The quick accumulation of snow forced Interstates 25, 76, and 70 to close. The entire city of Denver shut down, as did the region’s branch of the U.S. Postal Service.

With its roads closed and many of its residents without power, snow removal services faced a difficult task. In some situations, snow removal trucks in Boulder and Denver couldn’t plow roads on their own. They had to work in carefully orchestrated teams to plow snow and ice from major roads.

The Second Blizzard

The second blizzard didn’t bring as much snow, but it still caused significant damage and travel delays. Again, Boulder received more snow than any other city in Colorado. With 24 inches of ice and snow, people were forced to stay indoors as the storm raged during December 28 and 29.

Evergreen received 20.5 inches, and Golden got 17 inches of snow in just 10 hours.

Snow removal services were better prepared for the second wave of storms. Now that they had more experience, they knew how to best tackle the frozen interstates and highways that connect Boulder to other areas of the state.

De-icing crews poured salt on roads and scraped ice from the blacktop. Some people managed to have fun after the skies cleared and the snow stopped falling. Those working for snow removal services, however, continued their efforts.

Since the area outside of Boulder includes many ranches, farmers worried their cattle might not survive the winter. This possibility caused concern throughout the country. The snow and ice covered about half of the land used for raising cattle. Helicopters delivered about 42,000 pounds of hay to animals throughout the region. Still, it’s estimated that 15,000 cattle died.

Almost 2,500 flights were cancelled at Denver International Airport over the course of two and a half days, causing a ripple-effect of delays across the country, from San Francisco to New York.

Colorado and its most affected cities spent about $2.8 million on snow removal. After the snow had been cleared and the ice started to melt, cities like Boulder and Denver had to fill thousands of potholes caused by the sudden change in temperature.

As a new winter approaches, many people living in the Boulder will recall the difficulty of the Colorado Holiday Blizzard. Those who learned important lessons from the blizzard will already have the contact information of local snow removal services. If the power goes out, they may find it impossible to access that information online.

Hopefully, Colorado won’t have to struggle through another blizzard this year. If it does, residents and cities can always rely on local snow removal companies like GSC to clear parking lots, driveways, roads and highways and help life return to normal.