COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs and El Paso County representatives from public works, utilities, and emergency management shared winter weather plans Thursday as they prepare for the upcoming storm.
Among the people who spoke at this press conference is Greg Heavener with the National Weather Service Pueblo and Director Jim Reid of the Pikes Peak Office of Emergency Management.
Heavener said this storm is coming nearly two years after the historic storm in March 2019.
"Nothing like the magnitude of that...that being said, we do expect blizzard conditions to occur," he said. Reid followed up by saying the PPOEM is working with local law enforcement in the event people do get stranded while traveling.
El Paso County Public Works Division Deputy Director Kevin Mastin said they expect to have 34 plows available for this snow event and once primary roads are taken care of they will move onto priority two roads. He urged people to avoid unnecessary travel during this snow event. He also as of right now, crews are scheduled to go out at midnight Friday to be sure they are able to clear snow as soon as it hits the ground.
"If you don't have to go out, just please stay home," he said. He reiterated if people do need to go out and travel to have the correct preparations in their vehicles.
Jack Ladley, City of Colorado Springs Public Works operations manager, followed up to let people know the plows will be making their way to residential areas, but that could be at the time that people have their driveways cleared.
Travas Deal, Colorado Springs Utilities chief operations officer, said there is a chance of power outages with blowing snow and with the amount of snow arriving, he said be careful to clear gas meters of snow. Deal said they have equipment as well to help support getting electric back up.
"Our crews train for this. They're very prepared for this," he said. "...If you have lines down, please make sure to not approach in any shape or form."
This upcoming winter storm will bring most of its impact to the Denver area, though Colorado Springs is not out of its way. Colorado Springs is anticipating 3 to 10 inches through the weekend with blizzard conditions Sunday as wind speed picks up.
Update snow total forecast through Monday morning. I do have some uncertainty about how much snow will melt initially, which would leave us at the lower end of this range. #COwx pic.twitter.com/BHRHcD7Lti— Alex O'Brien (@WXAlexOBrien) March 12, 2021
Despite the short-term problems that come with a large snowstorm, the real benefit will likely be in the mountains, where a lagging snowpack is in need of a spring boost.
Statewide, any precipitation will help — much of the Western Slope and Eastern Plains are under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Several pockets of those areas are under exceptional drought conditions, the highest drought indicator on the monitor. Only a small pocket in southern Colorado is under abnormally dry conditions, the lowest indicator on the monitor.
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