EL PASO COUNTY – Preparations are underway for a forecasted blizzard in the northern part of the county Wednesday into Thursday. “It’s a full call-out on this storm, so you can expect 25 to 35 plows in the Colorado Springs area,” said CDOT spokesperson Michelle Peulen. Crews will work 12-hour shifts trying to keep roads clear amid expected white-out conditions.
During March’s “bomb cyclone” storm, hundreds of drivers became stranded on I-25 and other roadways, attempting to travel in the storm despite warnings not to do so. “If we start warning you not to go out, we mean it,” Peulen said. Compounding the issue in the Monument area is the lack of lodging. The 115-room Ramada hotel off Woodmoor Drive in Monument closed last year, leaving the 85-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott on Baptist Road as the only lodging option between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock. “We had a lot of people having to sleep in the lobby (during the bomb cyclone),” said Operations Manager Savannah Maciel. “We sold out immediately.”
In Black Forest, where hundreds of pine trees were blown down during the bomb cyclone, arborists say more tree-falls are possible with the incoming blizzard. “I believe that there are some trees out there that might be more susceptible to fall if we do get some higher winds with this storm,” said Jason Sharp with Front Range Arborists. “Trees that were once in a group and now are singled out are going to be more susceptible to falling down.”
Falling trees could impact electrical lines, causing power outages. “Always treat downed power lines as if they’re still live and still have power on them,” said Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District fire marshal Jamey Bumgarner. “The thing in Colorado is you just have to be prepared, no matter what,” Bumgarner said.