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Winter storm closes some military bases in Colorado

By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 22, 2019

An overnight winter storm in the Rocky Mountains region that dropped more than an inch of snow has created poor driving conditions and forced military installations in Colorado to close Tuesday.

The U.S. Air Force Academy, Schriever Air Force Base and the Army’s Fort Carson, all in the Colorado Springs area, posted closure information to Facebook citing poor road and weather conditions. Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and Peterson Air Force Base, also in Colorado Springs, opted for two-hour delays.

Depending on which direction storms enter the region, snow and conditions across El Paso County can vary greatly, said Jeff Bohn, a spokesman for Peterson’s 21st Space Wing.

While Peterson is located near the Colorado Springs Airport, where only about an inch of snow was reported to the National Weather Service, Bohn said he estimates the Air Force Academy received about three times that amount.

The determination for Peterson’s delay was based on the base’s roads and “not those in the surrounding areas. Please exercise great caution relative to your conditions and notify your supervisor if the conditions prohibit reporting for duty,” stated a post to Peterson’s Twitter account.

“People need to check with leadership and say, ‘Hey, I have a commuting concern and need to stay home,’” Bohn said. Leave is available in those situations.

A cold front moved through just before midnight Monday and snowfall began shortly thereafter, said Michael Nosko, a Colorado-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service. By morning, about an inch of snow was reported at the Colorado Springs Airport and was continuing to fall, he said.

With a morning temperature at 21 degrees and continued snow throughout the day, road conditions throughout the hilly terrain were icy and the city had enforced a number of road closures. The local school district also closed for weather.

“We’re looking for improving conditions in the afternoon,” Nosko said. “The snow should be letting up, and in Colorado Springs it should be ending by midafternoon.”

Wednesday should bring temperatures above freezing with a high of 42 degrees and mostly sun.

At Fort Carson, the weather also postponed an observance and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mission essential personnel were still required to report to work.

Meanwhile at Schriever and the Air Force Academy, the closure included all personnel. The academy posted to Facebook that only emergency services or mission essential personnel were authorized to drive.

thayer.rose@stripes.com
Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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