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Snowstorm closes schools, roadways and Mesa Verde in Southwest Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park closed Sunday and Monday because of heavy snowfall. (Courtesy Mesa Verde National Park)
Mountain passes also close after weekend storms

A weekend snowstorm closed schools Monday in the Cortez, Dolores and Dove Creek school districts.

Mancos schools had already closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

A winter storm warning was in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday at elevations above 6,000 feet, which includes most towns in Montezuma County. Six to 10 inches of snow was expected.

Tom Burris, superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1, announced the districtwide closure Sunday on the district and Facebook webpages at 2:57 p.m. The Re-1 district also includes schools in Pleasantview, Lewis-Arriola and Battle Rock.

“Southwest Colorado is thrilled to have much needed moisture and from time to time we must make accommodations for mother nature,” Burris stated. “I have decided that in the best interest of all concerned, we will close January 16. We will be evaluating the conditions expected Tuesday and make appropriate decisions at that time.”

All school district activity trips for Monday were canceled. The Montezuma-Cortez school board is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening. If the meeting is canceled, it will be announced Tuesday afternoon. If there is no announcement, the meeting will continue as scheduled.

Dolores road crews clear the streets Monday morning after more than a foot of snow fell over the weekend. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

Dolores School District Re-4A canceled classes and activities Monday because of “the continued winter storm impacting our region,” states a message on the district website and Facebook page posted 5 p.m. Sunday.

Dove Creek School District Re-2J announced Sunday evening that classes were canceled Monday because of inclement weather.

Mesa Verde closed from storm

Mesa Verde National Park closed Sunday and Monday, according to park Facebook posts.

“The park will be remain closed today due to snow,” Monday’s 6:30 a.m. post states. “The park has now received about a foot of snow, with more on the way – another storm is blowing in tonight through tomorrow. If you are planning to travel to the park tomorrow, please check back here in the morning for updated conditions.”

The park closed Sunday as well because of heavy snowfall throughout the day.

Storm closes highways

Regional mountain highway passes closed Monday to allow for snow removal and mitigation, CDOT reports.

  • Lizard Head Pass on Colorado Highway 145 closed Monday starting at 8 a.m. Northbound traffic was stopped just north of Rico at mile marker 49. Southbound traffic was stopped near Trout Lake at mile marker 61.
  • U.S. Highway 160 Wolf Creek Pass, closure began at 6 a.m. Westbound traffic was stopped near the pass summit, west of the ski area at mile marker 169. Eastbound traffic was stopped at Treasure Falls at mile marker 160.
  • U.S. 550 Coal Bank Pass, closure begins at 7 a.m. Northbound traffic was stopped near Cascade Creek at mile marker 52. Southbound traffic was stopped near Molas Pass summit and Andrews Lake at mile marker 63.

The closures could last for much of the morning, according to a CDOT news release.

Regional travelers should plan ahead, allow for extra travel time, or arrive and drive through the gates before the designated closure times. Visit www.COtrip.org for the latest information on road closures and conditions.

Other mountain passes will likely require maintenance operations over the next few days, but closure dates and times have yet to be determined, CDOT stated in the news release.