Pikes Peak Regional OEM Urging People to Stay off Roads
El Paso County, Colo. – El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs advise people to stay off the roads as rescue and plow operations continue into Thursday morning.The National Weather Service predicted winds and snow to lessen during the second day of the March Blizzard, but road conditions remain difficult for travel, especially to the north and east.
County Search and Rescue (SAR) fielded calls throughout the night and dispatched a fleet of snow cats, focusing first on stranded motorists with medical needs. By 5 a.m., SAR had received about 40 medical calls with more still coming in. Shortly after 5 a.m., nine snow cats were still deployed, two from SAR, two from the State of Colorado, one from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, two from private contractors and a pair from Colorado Springs Utilities. Snow cats are working in the northern and eastern parts of the County Thursday morning.
Late Wednesday night, first responders and plow crews estimated more than 1,100 stranded motorists in the El Paso County area. By morning, there were also countless abandoned vehicles impeding the work of the plows and rescuers.
Road closures continue Thursday morning, including U.S. 24 from Constitution Avenue to Limon. Highway 94 from Colorado Springs to Punkin Center, Woodmen Road from Powers Boulevard to the Falcon area, and Interstate 25 north of Woodmen Road.
El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs continue to work together across the region. The County’s Highway Division deployed 29 plow trucks and 13 graders to begin with cleanup efforts Thursday morning. The City has 40 plows and vehicles working the snow and ice covered roads. Crews continue to work on establishing one lane of travel on emergency and primary routes and continue to work with police and emergency services to move vehicles for plows to clear the roads that have heavy drifting from the snow and wind.
Motorists are encouraged to stay at home and let snow crews continue to treat roads. Crews will treat roads with snow control materials, but because temperatures will remain near freezing Thursday the effectiveness of the materials will be slow until warmer temperatures begin to impact the overall conditions of the roads.
Stranded motorists are encouraged to stay with their vehicles, run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm, make sure exhaust pipes aren’t blocked, and open a downwind window slightly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency, but understand that non-emergent calls to 911 only further utilize limited resources that are working to address emergencies.
The following shelters are open to service those in need:
- Homeless Shelter available at Springs Rescue Mission; 5 W. Las Vegas Ave, Colorado Springs, CO
- Woodmen Valley Chapel West; 290 E Woodmen Rd, Colorado Springs, CO
- Woodmen Valley Chapel East; 8292 Woodmen Valley Vw, Colorado Springs, CO
- Mountain Springs Church, 7345 Adventure Way, Colorado Springs, CO
- Falcon Patriot Learning Center; 11990 Swingline Road, Peyton, CO
- Calhan St. Paul’s; 1450 5th St, Calhan, CO
- Monument St. Peter’s; 55 Jefferson St, Monument, CO
- New Covenant Church; 77 Perry Park Ave, Larkspur, CO
- Black Forest Community Church, 6845 Shoup Rd, Black Forest, CO (Note: A phone number is posted on the door, call and the shelter will be opened)
- Douglas County Fairgrounds; 500 Fairgrounds Rd, Castle Rock, CO
According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts in the area will be substantially lower than the 70 to 90 mph winds that helped make roads treacherous on Wednesday. Patchy snow showers are expected in the northern part of the county through Thursday with conditions improving as the day progresses.
Do not approach downed trees near power lines. Call Colorado Springs Utilities at 719-448-4800 or Mountain View Electric at 1-800-388-9881 to report damaged or downed lines. The public can also report downed trees in the public rights of way in Colorado Springs using the City’s GoCoSprings mobile app. Issues in unincorporated El Paso County can be reported using the EPC Citizen Connect app or by going to https://citizenconnect.elpasoco.com
More information and updates will be posted on the following social media:
Colorado Springs Facebook
El Paso County Twitter
El Paso County Facebook
Colorado Springs Utilities Facebook and Twitter