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Snowstorm Causes Interstate Closures In Colorado, Deputy Hurt In I-70 Crash

(CBS4) - A potent snowstorm that is dumping heavy, wet spring snow across Colorado's Front Range and on the Eastern Plains is causing major traffic problems. A large stretch of Interstate 70 was closed Thursday afternoon east of Denver, some lanes of Interstate 25 were also closed and an Adams County Sheriff's deputy was involved in a rollover crash in the morning.

The rapidly intensifying spring storm has closed most all major highways and interstates across eastern Colorado. Winds have been gusting between 40 and 60 mph along with moderate to heavy snow.

The I-70 closure was put into place before 1 p.m. from Airpark Road east of Denver to Limon in eastern Colorado, according to CDOT. Officials said they weren't sure how long the closure would last.

The I-25 closure was located in the Castle Rock area and stretches south to Monument. Southbound lanes were closed due to several car crashes near Greenland, and some involved semi trucks, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

"All detour routes are already plugged with. Many folks getting stuck. Please put off travel south to the Colorado Springs area for a few hours," CSP officials tweeted.

The Adams County deputy was hurt in a rollover crash on I-70 near Watkins on Thursday morning where there were reportedly several crashes.  Officials said the deputy was awake and talking before being taken to a hospital for treatment. The full extent of the deputy's injuries isn't clear.

Interstate 76 was closed in both directions due to hazardous, blizzard conditions from Lochbuie to Nebraska. Travel should be avoided in Morgan County, according to the Morgan County Sheriff's Office. There was no estimate on when it would reopen.

I-76 lochbuie closed
I-76 was closed at Lochbuie to Nebraska in both directions (credit: CBS)

Highway 34 was also closed from Brush to Akron.

A blizzard is a combination of winds clocking 35 mph or more combined with snow creating a visibility of 1/4 mile or less for a period of 3 or more hours.

Snow totals up to 10 inches are possible closer to Interstate 25 with higher totals in the foothills. Most of the eastern plains should see under 6 inches but with the high wind and drifting it will be difficult to get a precise measurement.

The storm should rapidly move away with less wind and improving conditions through Friday. Sunny and warmer weather will arrive over the weekend.

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