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Colorado digging out of spring blizzard

Colorado struggled to get back to normal after a spring blizzard pounded parts of the state,  forcing travelers to spend  the night in airport terminals and hunker down at truck stops and churches.
A man uses cross-country skis to get around Denver on Sunday, as a spring blizzard blew across Colorado. Wet, heavy snow knocked out power and closed everything from church services to roads across the region. Ed Andrieski / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Standing in a line that snaked through the terminal, Lynn Miller was still trying to get home Monday after being stranded for two long days in the airport because of a spring storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of wet, heavy snow across Colorado.

“We’d like at least to get out of the state of Colorado,” she said wearily. “We’re just tired.”

Miller, her husband and their 8-month-old daughter tried renting a car Sunday after their United Airlines flight home to Arkansas was canceled. But a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 70 to the Kansas border was also closed for more than a day, reopening Monday afternoon.

The family was among 2,000 passengers who were stranded at Denver International Airport overnight as hundreds of flights were canceled. Many were back in the air by Monday.

The spring storm caught Coloradoans by surprise Sunday, with fat, moisture-laden flakes blowing nearly sideways in the gusting 30-mph winds. Trees and shrubs drooped with the weight and limbs began crashing to the ground within hours.

By Monday, 2 feet of snow had fallen across a large chunk of the state, including the Denver suburbs. The city itself recorded about a foot.

As the airlines struggled to get back to normal Monday — adding extra flights and personnel — drivers stranded along I-70 were attempting to get back on the road.

About 40 people spent the night at a shelter set up at a church in Limon, sleeping in Sunday school rooms and the sanctuary.

Power returning There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths, but blackouts affected thousands of people. About 11,000 customers lost power at the peak of the snowstorm, but service was restored to most customers, according to Xcel Energy.

Schools for thousands of children were closed Monday across the eastern half of Colorado.

Most airlines delayed or canceled flights Sunday, including United Airlines, the biggest carrier at Denver International Airport, officials said. Flights also were canceled out of Colorado Springs.

Alister Cleland of Durham, England, was among hundreds stuck at Denver’s airport. His family was trying to get home after spending a week at the Beaver Creek ski resort near Vail.

“We liked the snow there, but there’s too much here,” Cleland said.