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Blizzard response team asks drivers to stay off roads

Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 10, 2019

SOUTHERN COLORADO – The Red Cross, El Paso County, the City of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Office of Emergency Management are working together on this storm.

Their biggest concern is what could happen out on the roadways tonight as the wind picks up and
temperatures drop.

During a briefing Wednesday,  officials said they’re expecting flash freezing on the roadways through the night and they want everyone to learn from the same mistakes drivers made last time.

You’ll remember during the March Blizzard, there were more than a thousand stranded drivers throughout El Paso County.
Not only did they need rescuing, but they made it difficult for plow trucks and first responders to get by.
So everyone was in agreement tonight, if in doubt – simply don’t go out.

“That’ll allow the snow plows and our highway division to better serve the public and keep those roads clear and make way for the first responders and law enforcement to do their jobs as well,” said Matt Steiner, a spokesperson for El Paso County.

“Last time we had many people went out on the road that we needed to rescue and in some cases they were going out to the grocery store,” explained Larry Gilliam with El Paso County Search and Rescue.
“That’s not appropriate in a blizzard condition because what happens is that first responders get overwhelmed.”

“We still have the normal calls we have to respond to, and this just adds more on top of that, we need to be able to get there besides just the plows and everything else,” Mike St. Charles with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office pointed out.
“We’re asking please stay in, please stay off the roads, it’s gonna get bad, if you do need us, we will get there but please help us out but kinda staying out of our way and staying off the roads tonight.”

El Paso County has deployed about 20 plow trucks right now.
The rest of the fleet is on standby.

The National Weather Service confirmed wind gusts are expected to pick up between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. tonight.
The strongest gusts could be between 60 and 80 miles per hour in the northern end of Colorado Springs, past Woodmen all the way towards the Douglas County line.

If you do have to go out on the roads tonight, pack as though you had to stay in your car for 12 hours in freezing conditions.
That means you should have enough food, water, warm clothes, and batteries on-hand to get you by – just in case you’re forced to wait for first responders.