- Associated Press - Monday, October 2, 2017

DENVER (AP) - An early autumn storm brought heavy snow to northern Colorado mountains on Monday and led to power blackouts for thousands of customers.

The National Weather Service said 18 inches (46 centimeters) fell near Steamboat Springs. Red Cliff, south of Vail, reported 14 inches (36 centimeters) and Winter Park reported nearly 10 inches (25 centimeters).

About 21,600 customers lost electricity for five minutes or longer starting Sunday night, Xcel Energy said. About 23,000 had shorter blackouts or saw their lights flicker because of storm damage, utility spokesman Mark Stutz said.

Heavy snow caused trees and branches to fall onto some lines, and high winds blew other lines into each other, he said.

Power was restored to all but about 8,000 customers by mid-day Monday, Stutz said.

Most highways were open, but the storm prompted Rocky Mountain National Park to close Trail Ridge Road. It is the highest continuous paved road in the United States and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet (3,700 meters).

The slow-moving storm dragged cold air into Colorado from Canada, National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Phillips said.

“This is about the time of year we start to see these systems,” he said.

The storm was expected to begin moving by Monday night, followed by a couple days of dry weather.

Another storm is expected to bring snow to higher elevations of the southern and central Colorado mountains in mid-week, Phillips said, while lower elevations will likely see only rain.

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