DENVER (AP) – Hundreds of travelers were stranded at the Denver airport and along highways Sunday as a blizzard blew across eastern Colorado with wet, heavy snow.

Seven to 10 inches of snow was forecast in Denver and up to 30 inches was possible in the foothills west of Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder, the National Weather Service said.

“I can see just across the street and that’s it,” Heather Vansickler said at the Country Store in Palm Lake, 45 miles south of Denver.

Fat, moisture-laden snowflakes were blown sideways by wind gusting to 30 mph. Xcel Energy reported that 10,000 customers were without power in the Front Range region.

All airlines canceled departing flights from Denver International Airport during the morning, airport spokeswoman Laura Jackson said. United Airlines, the biggest carrier at the airport, canceled all of its flights for the whole day, she said.

Planes on the ground were icing up faster than they could be cleaned, said Joe Hodas of Frontier Airlines, which had planes landing but not taking off.

Hundreds of people were stranded at the airport, many stretching out on couches and the floor, using coats for pillows, or waiting in slow-moving lines at fast-food restaurants in the terminal.

“I need a drink and the lines are an hour-long to get one,” passenger Brandi Hoenig said.

She and her husband, Jim, were on their way home to Cocoa, Fla., after a honeymoon ski trip, but their flight was canceled and all nearby hotels were filled. “We can’t get a flight until Tuesday afternoon,” Jim Hoenig said.

Three state-run prisons in Denver were also closed to visitors by weather for the first time ever, said Alison Morgan, spokeswoman for the state corrections department.

The storm, which struck western Colorado on Saturday, was expected to blow out of the area late Sunday, mostly turning to rain over the Plains.

A similar storm system in March 2003 paralyzed much of the greater Denver area with 3 feet of wet, slushy snow that destroyed trees and damaged homes.



Associated Press reporter Judith Kohler contributed to this report.

AP-ES-04-10-05 1740EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.