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Blizzard conditions close roads in El Paso County

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Feb 27 2013 12:48:56 AM CST

Blowing snow, reduced visibility and slick roads create treacherous driving conditions.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -

Blowing snow, reduced visibility and slick roads made driving treacherous during rush hour and into the night on Tuesday.

The weather also forced 60 students and teachers to spend the night at Miami-Yoder School, and at least a dozen drivers found shelter overnight at the Ellicott Fire Station.

At one point, ten roads in eastern Colorado were closed because of the conditions, including U.S. 24 from Falcon to Limon, and Highway 94 from Enoch Road to U.S. 287.

Authorities expected the roads to remain closed through the night, and asked drivers to take detours or seek alternate routes.

One of the worst locations was a nine-mile stretch of Highway 94 between Ellicott and Yoder.  Strong winds blew snow horizontally and created white-out conditions.  A KRDO NewsChannel 13 crew drove that stretch and could barely see well enough to drive.

Authorities stopped vehicles in Yoder and led them by snowplow back to Ellicott for the night.

"I haven't seen conditions like this since the the last blizzard we had in 2006-2007," said Michael Olinia, an Ellicott firefighter who was directing traffic and helping stranded drivers.

One of those drivers was Marge Emerling, of Rush.  She was unable to make it home from Colorado Springs in the storm.

"I moved here from Denver," she said while sitting in her car.  "I've only lived here five months.  I didn't know what winter is like out here."

Earlier during rush hour, blizzard conditions snarled traffic on Black Forest Road, causing several vehicles to slide on to the shoulder and require towing. 

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