DENVER — A sloppy spring snowstorm caused mushy headaches Wednesday for travelers, students and businesses across Colorado.
The storm dumped about 9 inches on Denver from Tuesday night to Wednesday. About 23 inches of wet, heavy snow were reported in the city's western suburbs, and the southeast part of the state got about a foot or so. Skies cleared by lunchtime as the storm moved southeast.
Many of the 5,000 fliers who got stuck overnight at Denver International Airport remained hunched on blue plastic mats Wednesday morning waiting for news of rescheduled flights. Few seemed suprised by the weather.
"It was nice a couple days ago, but you could feel the moist air and the temperature dropping, and you could tell a storm was coming," said Debra Dusenbury, waiting with a Maeve Binchy novel for a flight home to Billings, Mont.
The storm knocked out power to thousands, though most had electricity restored by the end of the business day. Snow dripped from utility poles and tree limbs as soon as the storm moved out.
Dozens of school districts canceled classes Wednesday. In Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force Academy was closed. Lawmakers declared a snow day, too, shuttering business in the House and Senate. Most employees at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs had the day off.
The fast-moving storm whipped through Colorado on Tuesday evening, causing whiteout conditions and minor fender-benders.
In La Junta, a southeast town of about 7,500 people, a coffee shop that stayed open said business was slow as the storm forced customers to wade through icy muck.
"The snow is wet, but it's not sticking," said barista Talor Hall. "But the problem is, it's coming down so fast and the storm drains are getting backed up. It's looking pretty flooded."
Not all businesses were complaining. In the southern town of Walsenburg, customers lined up at Corine's Mexican Food for hot bowls of green chile stew and green chile burgers.
"Green chile's the special today, and that's good, because that's what they want when it's cold," said waitress Rachel Bobian, who said Walsenburg saw steady snow all day.
By evening, the storm was headed east into the Oklahoma Panhandle and north Texas. Farther south, the system was expected to bring thunderstorms Wednesday night in Dallas.