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The Latest: Colorado traffic flowing again after blizzard

March 15, 2019

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on the blizzard that struck Colorado and Wyoming (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Three major roadways in Colorado that were shut down by a massive late-winter blizzard have reopened.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials say traffic on interstates 25, 76 and 70 was flowing Thursday, a day after the roadways were closed by whiteout conditions and drifting snow.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado National Guard says troops retrieved 75 people stranded in their cars during the storm, along with two dogs. About 50 soldiers and airmen were part of the National Guard response, which was focused on four counties southeast of Denver. National Guard teams searched nearly 150 vehicles.

Meanwhile, about 30,000 Xcel Energy customers, mostly in the Denver area, are expected to remain without power into Friday. Crews have restored power to about 435,000 customers who were affected by the storm.

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4 p.m.

Colorado officials want to speak with a woman who witnessed a car hitting a state patrol officer who later died of his injuries.

The Colorado State Patrol said witnesses reported that a woman tried to help Corporal Daniel Groves after the crash. Groves was outside his patrol car along Interstate 76 northeast of Denver on Wednesday when a driver lost control and hit him during a blizzard.

Investigators are hoping the woman can share more detail about the crash. They also are asking anyone who witnessed it to contact authorities.

Officials said Groves was helping another driver who had slid off the highway. Groves was 52 and had worked for the agency for nearly 12 years.

No charges have been filed. The crash is being investigated.

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1:40 p.m.

The massive blizzard that struck Colorado and Wyoming is finally over in all but one small section of southeast Wyoming.

Blizzard warnings were discontinued just before noon Thursday for all of Colorado and most of Wyoming. Blizzard conditions remained only a small area between Cheyenne and Laramie but were expected to end Thursday evening.

That piece of Wyoming includes a mountain pass over which Interstate 80 travels.

Road crews are making progress to reopen highways in both states. But in Wyoming, they are having to use rotary plows to clear drifts as high as 10 feet (3 meters).

In northeast Colorado, portions of Interstates 25, 76 and 70 remain closed. Crews there are hampered by numerous stranded vehicles as well has deep drifts.

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11:35 a.m.

Red Cross of Wyoming reports that four people stayed overnight at a shelter in Douglas.

Executive Director Spender Pollock says it was the only shelter opened by the Red Cross in Wyoming because of the blizzard that struck the eastern part of the state Wednesday and Thursday.

Conditions continue to improve as the blizzard abates.

Blizzard conditions still persist in southeast Wyoming, including Wheatland, Torrington and Lusk areas.

Sections are Interstate 25 north of Casper have reopened as well as I-90 in the northeast part of the state.

Much of I-80 remains closed.

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10:20 a.m.

About 85,000 people remained without power Thursday morning in Colorado, mostly in the Denver area.

Xcel Energy says it is making progress to restore power to those who lost service in Wednesday’s blizzard but that some will remain without power into the weekend. It says it has hundreds of workers on the job.

The company reported that in the last 24 hours its crews restored power to some 360,000 customers around the state.

The power outages affected traffic lights in the Denver area. And warming shelters were set up for anyone without heat in their homes.

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10:15 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado National Guard says troops retrieved 75 people stranded in their cars during a winter storm, along with two dogs.

Elena O’Bryan says 50 soldiers and airmen were part of the National Guard response to the storm, which was focused on four counties southeast of Denver. National Guard teams searched nearly 150 vehicles.

The total number of people rescued statewide is likely higher. O’Bryan said local law enforcement also ran separate rescue efforts for stranded drivers and passengers.

Highways and roads in the northeast part of the state, including parts of Interstates 25 and 70, remain closed because of persisting blizzard conditions. Colorado officials are urging people to stay home so crews can tow abandoned vehicles and clear ice and snow from the roads.

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8:54 a.m.

The snow has largely stopped in Wyoming but strong winds continue to cause blizzard conditions in some areas.

Most of Interstate 80, all of I-25 and parts of I-90 remained closed Thursday morning along with a number of secondary highways and roads.

The University of Wyoming and Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne remained closed Thursday. State and local government offices and schools were also closed in Cheyenne, where local police advised people to stay off the roads. However, Casper city offices were able to reopen.

The storm dropped just over 13 inches (33 centimeters) of snow in Cheyenne and strong winds created large snow drifts that resulted in stranded vehicles on city streets and scattered power outages.

The National Weather Service says conditions were expected to improve during the day Thursday as the wind slowly dies down

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8:30 a.m.

Colorado National Guard and search and rescue teams using tracked vehicles are still looking for any motorists stranded on highways and roads by the blizzard that struck the eastern part of the state.

Dozens of people were rescued through the night and thousands of vehicles remain stranded and took them to shelters. Just in El Paso County, authorities estimated some 1,100 stranded vehicles.

Where they can, people rescued earlier will be taken to their stranded vehicles to get them off the roadway and allow plows to clear snow drifts.

Highways and roads in the northeast part of the state, including parts of Interstates 25 and 70, remain closed because of persisting blizzard conditions.

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8:13 a.m.

Parts of Colorado and Wyoming remain paralyzed in the wake of a massive late-winter blizzard that swept through the two states.

The storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, closed hundreds of miles of highway, stranded thousands of motorists, shut down airports and contributed to the death of a Colorado State Patrol officer who was hit and killed by a car while helping another driver.

Major highways in the two states remained closed Thursday morning as blizzard conditions persisted in some areas and crews continued searching for stranded motorists and worked to clear the roads. Denver Airport reopened but more than 600 incoming and outgoing were canceled early Thursday before operations could resume. Schools and government offices remained closed or delayed reopening Thursday.

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