Snowstorm leaves 102 000 Xcel customers without power in Denver, Colorado

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A total of 102 500 homes and businesses in Denver metro area were left without electricity on Sunday and Monday, October 8 and 9, 2017 after the first snowstorm of the season hit parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska. This was Denver's earliest first snow of the season since 2012.

Named Winter Storm Aiden by The Weather Channel, the storm caused travel problems across the three states and brought first accumulating snow of the season to Denver metro area where its heavy, wet snow caused power lines to snap, leaving widespread power outages from Boulder to Parker.

According to Xcel Energy Colorado, a total of 102 500 customers lost power because of the storm, about 56 000 for a sustained period (from at least 5 minutes to as long as several hours). The power was restored to 97% of customers by Tuesday morning, Xcel said, adding that the remaining 1 500 are expected to have power back by noon (local time).

"Xcel was nearly at full force after many workers went to Florida and Texas to help communities stricken by hurricanes," said Mark Stutz, Xcel spokesman."It was a pretty heavy response,” he said. "It was mostly a west-side storm."

"Aiden was a quick-hitting winter storm, partially spawned by a southward dip in the jet stream sweeping into the Rockies. The cold air supplied by that jet stream dip, combined with an upslope northeast surface wind flow, produced the snow along the Interstate 25 corridor, including in Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming, as well as parts of the High Plains of western Nebraska and eastern Colorado," Weather Channel meteorologists said.

2016's first measurable snowfall in the Mile High City didn't occur until November 17. The long-term average first measurable snow of the season in Denver is October 18.

Precipitation changed over to snow just after midnight Monday morning in the city of Denver, where 71.1 mm (2.8 inches) of snow was reported at Denver International Airport as of 18:00 MDT October 9.

Heavier amounts were reported in the foothills west of Interstate 25, including 314.9 mm (12.4 inches) in Genesee and 241.3 mm (9.5 inches) near Pingree Park, in Larimer County, Colorado. 

The heaviest snow total was an estimated 391 mm (15.4 inches) at the Deadman Hill SNOTEL station near Glendevey, Colorado.

Featured image: Denver on Tuesday morning, October 10, 2017. Credit: Eric English (via Twitter)

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