The Denver area's last major storm was so widely anticipated that tweeting locals were ready with a hilarious hashtag: #snOMG!. Today, there's much less of the white stuff, but thanks to the wind and the apparent shortage of snowplows (Colorado Department of Transportation's claims to the contrary), many roads are in such dreadful condition that even Good Morning America's Sam Champion has noticed.
Here's a recent 7News retweet of a message from the GMA weather dude:
— TheDenverChannel.com (@DenverChannel) February 23, 2012
And here's one from Champion himself:
REALLY bad morning in Denver @DenverChannel ..temps plunge...snow...wind...accidents!
— Sam Champion (@SamChampion) February 23, 2012
No kidding. The latest release from CDOT lists numerous highway closures: I-70 eastbound at 32nd Avenue (due to multiple accidents), plus US 6 over Loveland Pass, US 40 over Berthoud Pass, I-25 northbound north of State Highway 66, US 287 from Ted's Place to Wyoming, US 85 at State Highway 66 (downed power lines there), State Highway 58 westbound at 44th Avenue (an accident) and the I-70 west mountain corridor, which is closed westbound near C-470 and eastbound at Vail.
Along that stretch, CDOT is concerned about avalanches as well.
The release reports that CDOT called a full snow shift at 2:30 a.m., about a half-hour before the storm hit full force, and all eighty of its plows are currently on duty in the Denver area -- but you couldn't prove it by me. I hit the road from the Ken-Caryl Ranch area at 4:20 a.m., encountering a C-470 that had clearly been unmolested by any plow. There was no lane definition whatsoever and growing snow ruts that played havoc on my all-weather 1994 Geo Prizm. Conditions were somewhat less gruesome on 6th Avenue, but traffic was already backing up along that stretch despite the early hour -- and I saw a spin-out heading westbound.
In all, it took me nearly an hour to get to Denver's 10th and Broadway offices, and during that time, I didn't eyeball a single plow.
How can that happen? During past storms, CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman has patiently explained that the metro area is so big that it's entirely possible a driver won't see a plow even when all of them are deployed. But that's little comfort when the average person arrives at work feeling as if he's just gone through a near-death experience.
Clearly, we need a Champion. Here are some other tweets about the storm.
Check out this pic of 5" snow in Ken Caryl. Winter Wx Adv in Denver Metro til 8am & Palmer Divide until 11am. twitter.com/JenniferBroome...
— Jennifer Broome (@JenniferBroome) February 23, 2012
I am pretty sure there is a Bounty out for several of the Denver Weather men.#snow
— BillCertainBurns (@CertainBurns) February 23, 2012
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More from our News archive circa January 2011: "Snowplows seen in Denver metro during fifty-minute commute this morning: Zero."