The Denver metro area's biggest snow storm this winter is blanketing streets and highways Sunday, leading to traffic accidents, stranded travellers and delays and cancellations at Denver International Airport.
The storm has dumped up to 6 inches of snow and is expected to add another 4 inches through the evening, according to Jim Kalina, a National Weather Service meteorologist Boulder
Denver's 70 snowplows are on the streets, clearing major arteries, said Ann Williams, spokeswoman for Denver's Department of Public Works.
"We're seeing a lot of icy roads," Williams said. "The pavement is very cold and the snow is bonding to the pavement so we have a lot of slick conditions. We are trying to stay with it. The snow is coming down fairly fast and fairly heavy."
For only the third time since a string of storms and hard cold caused dangerous driving conditions on residential streets in the winter of 2006-2007, which lasted for weeks, the city is deploying four-by-four pickup trucks equipped with plows into residential neighborhoods, Williams said.
The plows won't scrape down to pavement but will shave off layers of snow to avoid the deep ruts the that formed in 2006 and 2007, Williams said.
The residential plows are only deployed between Nov. 15 and March 15 under conditions that include prolonged freezing temperatures.
The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays of up to two hours for arrivals and departures at DIA.
The airlines have reported approximately 200 departure and arrival cancellations, said DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale.
DIA averages 1,700 departure and arrival flights a day. On the weekends there are fewer flights.
Airlines leaving the airport will be deicing throughout the day, so most flights can expect some delay, Coale said.
Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said the number of reported accidents has been picking up throughout the morning, and Denver is now on snow alert.
The driver of a vehicle that collided with a Colorado Department of Transportation snowplow on Highway 40 near Empire was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The CDOT driver wasn't injured, said CDOT spokeswoman Mindy Crane.
"There have been a handful of accidents," Crane said. "I have heard of more in the high country than there have been in the metro area."
CDOT's Crane said that by 9 a.m. no roads were closed but the department will update road conditions throughout the day.
Traffic on the Interstate 70 corridor is moving slowly, Crane said.
DIA snow removal crews were also mobilized. Pena Boulevard has been chemically treated and is mostly wet with isolated areas of patchy thin slush. Runways are clear and open.
DIA has more than 250 pieces of snow removal equipment and approximately 500 trained snow removal personnel.
DIA officials recommends passengers download the free FlySmart travel app for the Blackberry, iPhone and Android. FlySmart Airport is the only travel app that features content downloaded directly from <a href='http://www.flydenver.com'>www.flydenver.com&lt;/a>.
<i>Tom McGhee: 303-954-1671, <a href='mailto:email@example.com'>firstname.lastname@example.org&lt;/a> or <a href='http://twitter.com/dpmcghee'>twitter.com/dpmcghee&lt;/a> Ryan Parker contributed to this story.</i>