Littleton avoids major issues amid blizzard

Storm relatively easy on city, despite school closure and power outages

Posted 3/14/19

School was canceled, city offices were closed, trees were toppled and swaths of the city went without power — but Littleton still fared better than some areas amid the “bomb cyclone” blizzard …

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Littleton avoids major issues amid blizzard

Storm relatively easy on city, despite school closure and power outages

Posted

School was canceled, city offices were closed, trees were toppled and swaths of the city went without power — but Littleton still fared better than some areas amid the “bomb cyclone” blizzard of March 13.

Winds topped out between 50 mph and 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service, and 7 to 8 inches of snow fell — relatively mild compared to parts of the Denver metro area that saw gusts above 80 mph and more than a foot of snow, leaving motorists trapped for hours in places.

“It was largely a non-event for us,” said Littleton Police Department spokesman Trent Cooper. “Traffic was light and people were driving cautiously.”

Officers helped some motorists push their cars out of snowdrifts or other precarious positions, Cooper said.

One problem, Cooper said, was that stoplights around the city — which are now largely lit by LED bulbs — no longer get warm enough to melt snow, meaning north-facing stoplights were obscured on southbound Broadway and Santa Fe Drive.

Still, Cooper said, most motorists were careful through intersections.

Emergency responders were thankful that many residents heeded warnings to stay home ahead of the blizzard, said South Metro Fire Rescue spokesman Eric Hurst.

“Some people got a false sense of security because the day started with just rain,” Hurst said, “but once the blizzard hit, it hit hard — just as predicted.”

Swiftly accruing snowdrifts left motorists with little room to pull over for fire engines in some places, Hurst said.

Crews responded to some stuck motorists, Hurst said, as well as fires sparked by downed electric wires hitting trees.

Power outages were reported in many neighborhoods around the city, according to Xcel Energy's online outage map. Crews were busily restoring power on March 14, according to a news release.

Littleton Public Schools stayed closed for a second day on March 14, citing power outages and ongoing icy conditions.

“Great day to go sledding,” said Littleton Public Schools Superintendent Brian Ewert in a tweet. “Enjoy!”

Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman said her electricity was out for about eight hours on March 13, but said overall, things went well.

“It was smart for the schools and the city to close,” Brinkman said. “More than anything it just helped keep people off the roads. We got lucky.”

Roads were largely clear by the morning of March 14, and the weekend forecast called for sunny skies and warm weather.

The blizzard was less than impressive to Vance Bowen, a maintenance worker at the Littleton Museum.

“I'm a native,” said Bowen as he shoveled snow from paths at the museum. “When I was a kid, they didn't shut everything down. They just put chains on the buses and we went to school.”

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