Winter weather sparks road closures in Rocky Mountains; chain laws in effect on I-70

OutThere Colorado
OutThere Colorado
Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance shut down Thursday.

Whiteout conditions and blowing snow shut down roads east of Rocky Mountain National Park Thursday as snow began to set in across parts the Front Range, the park announced.

Colorado Springs, Denver and sections of the Rocky Mountains are forecast to see multiple inches of snow with parts of the high country near Breckenridge and Vail expected to receive as much as 12 inches over the next several days, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service told The Gazette.

As those conditions kicked in Thursday, the Fall River and the Beaver Meadows Entrances of Rocky Mountain National Park closed, while roads on the west side of the park remained open but "conditions are deteriorating," park officials said.

"Winter storms with heavy snow accumulation and strong winds have been forecasted for Rocky Mountain National Park from last night through Saturday morning," wrote Kyle Patterson, a public affairs officer for Rocky Mountain National Park.

Meanwhile, Interstate 70 eastbound near Vail Pass Summit between mile marker 178 and and 190 is requiring chains or alternative traction on commercial vehicles, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Chains are also required on commercial vehicles on U.S. 24 between Cross Creek Road and Water Street, the agency said.

Road conditions between Silverthorne and Loveland pass are icy and snow packed, according to the agency. Winds could blow up to 40 mph with 1 inch of new snowfall Thursday.

CO-93, west of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and south of Boulder, shut down due to high winds after several high profile vehicles tipped over. The highway closed between CO-58 and CO-128, Colorado State Patrol tweeted. CO-93 was temporarily opened at CO-128 for evacuation traffic.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, CO-65 between Crag Crest Trail and C.60 Road is closed for avalanche mitigation. Similarly, CO-133 between Marble Road and McClure Campground is closed for avalanche mitigation until Jan. 1.

The Marshall fire near in Boulder is also causing some closures.

U.S. 36, the Boulder Turnpike, has a safety closure between CO-128 and Colorado Avenue. U.S. 36 is closed from Wadsworth to Boulder.

Winter weather conditions in shut down a section of Cottonwood Pass between FS Road 209 and County Road 344. That closure is expected to last until May 31, the Colorado Department of Transportation said. Roads between Minturn and Buena Vista were also slushy with snow and ice.

The Gazette's Hugh Johnson contributed to this report.

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