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Fast spring snowstorm dumps snow, strands travelers

HUERFANO- Winter finally blew into Huerfano County, six days after spring arrived.  The storm brought much-needed moisture to the area, dropping about six inches of snow in Walsenburg and up to two feet in Cuchara.  The snow was accompanied by (of course) high winds.

    The poor weather conditions lead to the closing of I-25 and Highway 160 by late Thursday afternoon, stranding travelers who had ignored or did not hear the warnings to stay off the roads.  The Red Cross, anticipating the need, had sent a disaster trailer down to the Huerfano County Community Center, which helped at least 151 travelers,giving them the opportunity to get out of the cold for awhile.  Approximately 53 people  stayed the night in the gym.

    One fatality was connected to the storm- a 1997 Ford Expedition traveling southbound on I-25 and lost control at mile marker 55.  A woman and her one year old baby were ejected, with the child dying at the scene.  The driver was charged with careless driving causing death.   

    San Isabel Electric Association reported a few isolated outages have taken place in their service territory.  According to San Isabel spokesperson Ashley Valdez, only a few accounts in their 9,600 square mile service area experienced outages due to the storm.  Less than 10 accounts called in to report a loss of power in Hoehne  and east of Trinidad.  Service has been restored in those areas.  

    “We are pleased that the number of outages was limited to a handful of homes and that we were able to restore service in a relatively short period of time.” said Valdez.  “When you consider how large our service area is and the severity of the storm, having a few isolated outages is a really good outcome.”

    The outages were caused by blowing winds.  No damage to the system was reported.