Travelers line up at Denver airport after blizzard closure
Denver — Travelers trying to fly out of Denver faced long lines Thursday following a spring blizzard that shut down the airport, closed hundreds of miles of roads and left cars stranded along highways on the Plains.
Denver International Airport reopened Wednesday evening but by then most of the day’s flights had already been canceled, leaving people to sleep on the floor there or return home and come back and wait to try to get on another flight during an already busy spring break travel weak.
Alicia Bailey was headed back to Atlanta after a business trip in Colorado Springs. She had a treacherous, white-knuckle, four-hour drive to the airport on Wednesday only to learn her flight was delayed several times and then finally canceled.
“I had a nice little cocktail and that calmed the nerves down because I was frazzled,” she said. “The way I look at it is, it’s all God’s work. You have to look at the glass half full. I can’t change it so I’m just going to tell my boss, ‘I’ll see you on Friday.’”
The storm also brought heavy and blowing snow to parts of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Up to a foot of snow fell in the southern Twin Cities and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called members of the National Guard to active duty to help local authorities.
It was still snowing Thursday in Michigan, where high winds prompted Mackinac Bridge officials to require that some bigger vehicles cross under escort.
Drivers in northwestern Iowa and southeastern South Dakota, meanwhile, were warned to avoid travel because some roadways were still blocked by vehicles that got stuck in the blowing snow that fell Wednesday.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service said snow accumulations in South Dakota ranged from fewer than 2 inches in Sioux Falls to up to 7 inches north of Humboldt, while gusts reached between 40 mph to 45 mph.
“It’s pretty common that we see a couple of big storms in March, certainly not unheard of in this neck of the woods, but it is a high amount,” said weather service meteorologist Kerry Hanko.
Earlier, in Colorado and Wyoming, the wind and the heavy, wet snow typical for a spring storm weighed down power lines and snapped them into one another, causing outages and flickering lights.
The storm mainly hit the eastern, flat halves of those states before moving east. The snow shut down long stretches of Interstates 25, 70 and 80 in Wyoming and Colorado on Wednesday but they were back open Thursday, except for portions of I-70 in eastern Colorado.
Eastbound Interstate 70 into Kansas remained closed Thursday.
Even politics had to take a snow day in Wyoming as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former President Bill Clinton both canceled campaign events in the state.
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