Snowstorm Causes Downed Trees, Power Outages

By Dillon Thomas

ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– Hundreds of residents in the Town of Estes Park continued to be without power and internet/cable after a late spring snowstorm moved through Colorado.

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Rocky Mountain National Park measured nearly 40 inches of snow, all accumulated in less than 48 hours.

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Snow in Estes Park (credit: CBS)

“These can always sneak in, these late spring snow storms are common,” said Kate Rusch, spokeswoman for the Town of Estes Park.

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Rusch said more than 40 different areas throughout the town lost power. Most downed power lines were caused by ice and downed trees. Most power outages had been repaired by Friday afternoon.

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Crews work to restore power in Estes Park (credit: CBS)

A barn, built in the late 1800s, was claimed in the storm. The barn, part of Elk Horn Stables, collapsed due to the heavy snowpack.

“We didn’t expect this much snow to come down,” said Ivan Smith, owner of the property. “[The barn] has been through the flood of ‘76, and the flood of ‘82. Then, [the flood] of 2013. And, now this.”

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Fortunately, for staff, nobody was hurt when the barn collapsed. However, thousands of dollars of hay was destroyed.

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At nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, tourists were left to snowshoe their way in.

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“It is a unique situation, for us to have to close the roads on the east side of the park,” said Kyle Patterson, spokeswoman for Rocky Mountain National Park.

Patterson said the storm mostly left snowpack on the east side of the Continental Divide. Rangers were not able to access the west side, to understand what roads looked like on the other side of the park.

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Until rangers were able to assess the snowpack in higher elevations of the park, the roads in were blocked by law enforcement.

Patterson encouraged anyone attending the park after the storm to use caution.
“They are going to be facing winter conditions, if they venture out into the back country,” Patterson said.

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Patterson said, following roads being cleared, the park’s biggest concern would be the heightened chance of avalanches.

On Thursday, most of the east side of the park was closed because of snow. Some of those roads reopened on Friday.

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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