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Associated Press
People work to free a stuck car in a parking lot in central Denver as a storm packing high winds and heavy snow swept Colorado on Saturday.

Snow pounds Denver; storm eyes Midwest

– An early-spring snowstorm forced the cancellation of more than 100 flights at Denver International Airport and closed several roads Saturday as it moved eastward, dumping more than a foot of snow in some places.

The snow started falling around midnight in northeast Colorado and then moved into northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska.

Ten to 15 inches of snow had fallen by Saturday afternoon north of Interstate 70 in northwest Kansas and northeast Colorado, with 1 to 2 inches more expected in the area, said Ryan Husted, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Goodland, Kan., where 15 inches of snow had fallen.

The storm also dropped up to 7 inches of snow in southwestern Nebraska before tapering off Saturday afternoon, said David Pearson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service near Omaha, Neb.

“But the wind is really blowing, so visibility in those areas is still going to be pretty low,” Pearson said.

Husted said winds gusting at speeds of up to 45 mph were creating snow drifts of 2 to 3 feet in parts of Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

I-70 had been shut down Saturday from Denver to Colby, Kan., because of poor visibility. The northbound lanes of Interstate 25 also were closed south of Fort Collins, Colo., because of multiple accidents.

“It’s a mess here,” said Jerry Killingsworth, a National Weather Service meteorologist also based in Goodland, Kan. “Heavy, wet snow, tree limbs down.”

At the Goodland 24/7 truck stop, truckers milled around. With roads in the area closed, they are “just waiting,” said Samantha Lamb, the truck stop’s assistant manager.

“Our hotel across the street from us is pretty full,” Lamb said. “Our parking lot has a good 35, 40 trucks in it.”

Denver International Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said about 106 flights have been canceled, many of which involved commuter jets headed to nearby destinations or to mountain towns.

The system will move into Illinois and Indiana overnight and into Sunday.

Meteorologist Dan Smith with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Ill., said snowstorms aren’t uncommon in early spring. The latest the area has seen snow, he said, was April 23, in 1910.

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