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Blizzard moves east across Denver, dumps 2 inches of snow an hour

February 3, 2012 | 12:23 pm

ColoradoBlizzard2

A blizzard moving across Denver and into parts of the Midwest is dumping 2 inches of snow every hour, prompting the cancellation of 600 flights at Denver International Airport and closing roads across northeastern Colorado. 

The fierce storm -- coming after a relatively mild and balmy winter -- is producing wind gusts of up to 40 mph and has forced closure of schools, businesses and government offices.

Denver's metro area has seen about 10 inches of snow so far, and snow totals are expected to hit about 2feet, said Chad Gimmestad, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Denver.

"It’s very slow moving," Gimmestad said. "It’ll be crawling across Kansas and Nebraska tomorrow. Here in Denver, we’re looking at least 36 hours of steady snow." 

The storm, the worst blizzard since 2006, has caused hundreds of accidents on Colorado roads and highways, said Capt. Jeff Goodwin, a spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol. 

"Mainly minor accidents, fender benders and spinouts," he said. 

Two Colorado troopers investigating accidents were rear-ended, Goodwin said. One was treated at an area hospital for minor injuries. 

Because of the winds, visibility was low -- in some places, only a few hundred feet, Goodwin reported. Denver International Airport said in a statement that about 600 flights had been canceled due to the storm.

The storm is expected to weaken and move out by Saturday night, the National Weather Service said. 

The snowfall was a boon to ski resorts in the area, which have been starved for snow.

At Eldora Mountain Resort, the Denver Post reported that several hundred snow sport enthusiasts lined up for the first lifts to open.

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-- Ricardo Lopez

Photo: Motorist Myron Balason takes a photo of his car on Highway 94 as he waits for a tow truck to pull his vehicle from a snowbank on Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo. Credit: Mark Reis / Colorado Springs Gazette

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