- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

DENVER (AP) Denver's worst blizzard in at least two decades shut down the city for a second day and closed one of the nation's busiest airports, stranding thousands of passengers and ripping the terminal's tentlike roof. Even letter carriers stayed home.
The storm dumped up to 6 feet of wet, heavy snow in the mountains and paralyzed a large swath of Colorado and Wyoming that is home to more than 3.5 million people. It forced officials to close parts of interstates 70, 80 and 25, and National Guard troops were sent to rescue stranded motorists.
The storm, which lumbered into Colorado with rain turning to snow Monday and Tuesday, was heading slowly east and expected to taper off late yesterday, one of the final days of winter. A blizzard warning remained in effect from the Colorado-Wyoming line to New Mexico.
The snow was blamed for at least one traffic death, reported in Wyoming. Interstate 70 remained closed from the Rockies almost to the Kansas line. To the north in Wyoming, interstates 25 and 80 remained closed, isolating Cheyenne and other communities.
Around the region, gusts whipped snow into drifts that blocked streets and driveways, turning abandoned cars and trucks into marshmallow mounds.
Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick did not even try to get to work from his home on the prairie about 15 miles east of town.
"I can walk on top of my barn," he said. Stranded inside were chickens, geese and the heavy equipment he needed to use to dig through the 9-foot drifts.
Instead, he turned to an old-fashioned method. "It's called a shovel," he said.
The Colorado National Guard sent 21 Humvees to rescue stranded motorists. In some cities, police ticketed motorists who didn't have a good reason to be out.
Denver security manager Keith Moore waited two hours for a bus that never showed up, finally catching a ride with a snowplow driver.
"It was great," Mr. Moore said. "I got to smoke and everything."
Rep. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, was stranded near the Denver airport but found the storm's silver lining: "We've had such a terrible drought, and this will help with our water situation."
Both states needed the moisture after months of drought conditions.
Travelers filled up motels along the closed interstates, and hundreds of truck drivers slept in their rigs.
The storm has dumped more than 2 feet of snow on Denver since Monday. In the mountains west of Denver, winds swept 6-foot snow accumulations into 8-foot drifts. The American Red Cross turned four public buildings into shelters for 350 motorists in Idaho Springs, 35 miles west of Denver.
Almost 1 feet of wet, heavy flakes fell Wednesday at Denver International Airport and gathered in drifts up to 4 feet, ripping the facility's fabric roof and forcing it to remain closed.

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