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Eastern plains road looks more like mountain highway

10-foot snow drifts line a section of Highway 61 in north Washington County.

STERLING, Colo. — The snow totals were not very impressive in the Denver metro area Wednesday, but parts of the eastern plains got another three to five inches.

And the ground in some of the northeast counties has had a layer of white for nearly a month now. 

Highway 61 just south of Sterling just might be the epicenter of what’s been a big snow season on the northeast plains. It’s the first time in seven years that that area has had more than two feet of snow by Jan. 11.

“I came up to this one spot and noticed that there were two massive walls of snow on both sides of the road," Iliff resident Dakota McGee said. "I haven’t seen something like that in a long time.”

The 6'1" McGee stood next to a 10-foot of snow that lined the side of the road. The hardpacked ice probably started with the blizzard on Dec. 13, and built up higher with several more decent snowstorms in the following weeks. 

He said the prairie road resembled Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park after it gets its first plow in May.

There is limited data available on the plains, but above average snow is being reported by what few stations there are. 

A station near that section of highway 61 has reported 24.4 inches of snow so far this season. The most since 2016.

Some other area totals through Jan. 11:

  • Flemming 25.7 inches
  • Akron 28.2 inches
  • Sedgwick 24.9 inches
  • Julesburg 20.6 inches
  • Holyoke 19.1 inches
  • Ft. Morgan 17.1 inches

McGee said what’s most unusual is that there has been very little melting since that first mid-December blizzard.

But he knows it’s got to melt sometime.

“I think it’s beautiful moisture that we’re receiving out of this. It’s kind of been that wet heavy snow at times. So, it’s great moisture and I think it’s going to do great for the soil and farmers out here, and crops in the future.”



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