April storm delivers heavy snow; snarls morning commute

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DENVER – The dramatic weather swings of spring.

Metro Denver went from record heat over the weekend, to shovels and snowplows Tuesday as a stronger-than-expected storm moved through the region.

Thousands of Xcel Energy customers lost power as the heavy, wet snow snapped tree limbs and downed power lines. (click here for power outage updates)

Several schools, including Elbert School District 200 and Lewis Palmer, closed for the day.

Morning commuters encountered slushy road conditions and poor visibility, resulting in numerous spin-outs and fender benders. No serious injury accidents were reported.

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“(Plow) crews will address any significant snow build-up on Denver’s main roads with plows and de-icing materials as needed,” said Denver Public Works spokeswoman Ann Williams. “Whenever the roadway is wet, drivers should use extra care and allow plenty of time to reach their destinations.”

Despite the inconveniences, the storm brought much-needed moisture to the Front Range in the wake of the driest March on record.

“This is the million dollar storm,” said Pinpoint Weather meteorologist Chris Tomer. “We’re riding a line between rain and snow, and this will really help ease our drought conditions and fire danger.”

Tomer says snow accumulations on grassy and exposed surfaces from Denver to Fort Collins will total 1-3 inches. Southern and western suburbs could see 5-10 inches.

The highest totals in the state will be farther south toward Pueblo and Trinidad.

The system should taper off by Tuesday evening and the warm-up begins Wednesday with highs climbing back into the low 60s.

Thursday and Friday should hit in the low 70s. For Easter weekend, the weather looks great with highs Saturday and Sunday in the low 60s.