Colorado Braces For Another Snowstorm

Still recovering from last week's blizzard, Colorado cities are bracing for another storm that could bring more than a foot of snow and high winds to the state and cause planes to be grounded at Denver International Airport again.

The National Weather Service said a storm, expected Thursday, could pack gusts up to 45 mph, whipping the heavy snow into blinding whiteouts. Denver could get 18 inches of snow by Friday morning, and up to 2½ feet were forecast for the foothills, the weather service said.

Weather Service forecasters said flights from Denver's airport could be delayed or even canceled but cautioned the storm's path and intensity were difficult to predict.

Crews were still trying to clear away ice and hard-packed snow from last week's storm. "Believe it or not, the first storm is not over for us," said Saleem Khattak, streets manager for Colorado Springs' Public Works Department.

Last week's storm dumped up to 3½ feet of snow on some parts of the state, shutting down highways, schools, businesses and mail delivery in some towns and cities. Denver's airport was closed to all flights for 45 hours, stranding about 4,700 people at the airport one night.

Meanwhile, utility crews in San Francisco scrambled Wednesday to fix power lines knocked over during a winter storm that snarled traffic, killed one woman and left tens of thousands of people without electricity across Northern California.

The post-Christmas storm had passed through the San Francisco Bay Area by Wednesday morning.

Downed power lines caused by heavy rains and winds left more than 107,000 customers without power Wednesday afternoon, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman Brian Swanson said.

One woman was killed when the storm's powerful gusts pushed an oak tree into a home, Marin County Fire Department spokeswoman Sarah Gibson said.

The storm had forced some flight delays Tuesday at San Francisco International Airport. But by Wednesday, flight arrivals were on time while some departures were slightly delayed, airport officials said.

In Southern California, powerful winds knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers as dangerous surf pounded the coast.

Southern California Edison said about 115,000 customers had outages ranging from momentary to several hours, and about 5,000 remained without electricity Wednesday afternoon. About 10,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were without power Wednesday evening, spokeswoman Carol Tucker said.

At least one death is being blamed on the storm. A man drowned in Ventura Tuesday while rescuing his 4-year-old grandniece, who was knocked off a jetty while watching the large waves that preceded the storm.

Breakers as high as 10 feet pounded the coast Wednesday in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.