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States clean up after blizzard

Several western and Plain States cleaned up Friday after two days of heavy snow.

BY HEATHER MOYER | DENVER, Colo. | December 22, 2006

Several western and Plain States cleaned up Friday after two days of heavy snow and ice shut down the region.

Areas of Colorado received between two and three feet of snow, with isolated areas receiving even more. The high winds caused significant drifting, with reports of drifts reaching heights of six to eight feet.

The heavy snow snarled holiday traffic via road and air as major interstates and the Denver International Airport were closed for two days. Thousands of travelers found themselves stranded as more than 2,000 flights were canceled.

In response, more than 20 shelters opened across eastern Colorado to serve those stuck in town or those living without power. The governor of Colorado declared a state of emergency Wednesday and authorized the use of the Colorado National Guard to help where needed.

Southeast Wyoming along with eastern Kansas and Nebraska saw the brunt of the storm on Thursday, with some areas receiving more than a foot of snow and ice. Images of the region show thick ice covering trees and power lines.

Parts of I-70, I-76 and other state highways in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska remain closed. Some sections are expected to reopen Friday as crews clear the snow and ice.

The Denver International Airport is expected to open later Friday. In a statement on the airport's Web site, "Denver International Airport will resume limited flight operations at noon (Friday) with two of our six runways ready for takeoffs and landings. DIA's third runway will be open tonight. Snow crews have been working around the clock to make the airfield fully operational, clearing taxiways, ramp and gate areas. Some airline ticket counters opened at 4:00 a.m. this morning to check in passengers with confirmed December 22 flights."

The storm is now over the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic U.S. and is bringing heavy rain to multiple states.

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