The blizzard that hit the state of Colorado in October 1997 was among the most costly and damaging natural disasters in Colorado’s history of big storms. Following an extremely dry summer, the storm shook many Coloradans off guard. The resulting floods and mudslides caused havoc to homes, roads and businesses throughout the state. The storm caused more than $1 billion in damages and killed more than 30 people.
For several days leading up to the storm, a low-pressure system been brewing over the southern part of Colorado. On October 20th the system finally broke out into a full-blown snowstorm. The snow fell heavily across the majority of Colorado early in the morning, and continued throughout the day. After all was done, some areas had received more than 2 feet of snow, while others were covered with several inches of ice.
The most severe impact of the storm hit Denver in Colorado, where the conditions of whiteout made travel virtually impossible. Roads quickly became impassable as abandoned vehicles were piled up in a mess of drifts. Public transportation came to a standstill as buses were stuck in snowbanks and trains lost their way due to ice forming on the tracks. Schools and businesses closed for the day while people stayed at home to get through the storm.
Outside of Denver the situation was more dire. In mountain towns such as Aspen and Vail, heavy snow led to roofs falling over of the snow, while powerful winds ripped down power lines and trees. Communities that were isolated were isolated from assistance because roads were filled with debris, or disappeared under mountains of snow. In the eastern region of Colorado, meanwhile, flash flooding transformed small streams into violent rivers that swept away cars, houses, and even people unlucky enough to cross their route..
All told, it took weeks to allow Colorado to heal from the snowstorm that hit in 1997. For many people who lived through it the experience, however, the memories will remain in their hearts for the rest of their lives.”
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