CO highway reopens Monday afternoon

Snow, winds, avalanche threats closed major roads and had stranded nearly 3,000.

DENVER | December 31, 2007

Highway officials reopened I-70 Monday afternoon after high winds, blowing and drifting snow and fears of avalanches had shut down highways forcing nearly 3,000 motorists to spend Sunday night in high country shelters.

A major stretch of Interstate 70, including the eastbound and westbound lanes through the Eisenhower Tunnel under the Continental Divide, had closed. The Interstate is the major link between Denver and numerous mountain ski resorts, including Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Vail.

U.S. 40 and U.S. 6 were also shut down.

The American Red Cross said 2,872 people were being housed at 12 shelters, the majority of them in Summit County, located in the high country about 75 miles west of Denver. Motels and hotels between Georgetown and Vail were sold out.

The Silverthorne Recreation Center housed 983 people while Summit Middle School played host to 400.

Colorado wasn't the only area to face severe winter conditions.

A winter storm warning, with up to 12 inches of snow forecast, was posted for parts of the Northeast at the start of the new year. The snowfall would add to the already heavy snow that has fallen in the Northeast; Albany, N.Y., received 11 inches of snow from Sunday to Monday.

Snow advisories were also issued for parts of the Midwest.

And in northeast Florida, a freeze watch and wind chill advisory was in effect from late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

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