Wind gusts hit 115 mph near Breckenridge
Ryan Summerlin November 14, 2011
There wasn’t much snow accumulation as of Sunday morning, but the storm continued to blow hard enough to peel fences off their nails and down the power in the southern end of the county.
“Summit County got a lot of wind but not a lot of snow with this one,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Koopmeiners said. “There were some fierce (winds).”
Five miles south of Frisco, wind speeds were reported to reach 115 miles per hour, and gusts hit 100 mph two miles southwest of Loveland Pass. Southeast of Berthoud Pass in Clear Creek County, winds hit 113 mph.
“These are high, but they’re not totally the worst I’m aware of,” Koopmeiners said. Records show 201 mph in the winter of 1981 at Longs Peak and 147 mph on Jan. 25, 1971, in Boulder.
“It gets windier, but that was pretty windy,” he said.
According to an Xcel Energy spokesperson, a power outage in Blue River, Breckenridge, Leadville and Fairplay affected roughly 1,000 residents, some up to 9 hours.
“It looks like trees were blown down at several places along our line that caused the outage,” the spokeswoman said, adding the problem appeared to be fixed as of 9 a.m. Sunday
Roads became slick, with layers of snow and ice that required chains on eastbound commercial vehicles between Silverthorne and the Johnson Tunnel. Loveland Pass closed at roughly 9 p.m. Saturday and remained closed through Sunday. The Dillon Dam Road closed at 7:20 p.m., reopening nearly 12 hours later at 6:40 p.m.
The storm mostly hit further north, with Rabbit Ears Pass getting up to a foot in places, Koopmeiners said.
Forecasts for the area for Sunday evening called for snow through the night, but with limited accumulation of an inch or two – not the depths meteorologists initially predicted would come with the storm. Some precipitation could continue through today and Tuesday.
Temperatures should return to the mid-30s and low-40s by midweek, with the sun coming out once again. A chance of snow returns next weekend.