One day after severe winds and a fire that forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate east Boulder County, the Front Range was hit with a storm that brought snow and frigid temperatures even as many residents were still without power.
About 10,000 customers were without power in the Boulder area Friday morning, and as of 7 p.m. there were still about 8,000 waiting for it to be restored, according to Xcel Energy’s website.
The frequent outages began occurring as early as Thursday morning, when the Boulder County area was hit by severe winds.
Xcel Energy officials did not return calls for comment Friday as to when the power might be restored.
While the moisture was a welcome, if tardy, development for crews fighting the Marshall Fire, it was also a hazard for those who found themselves either without homes or without power Friday.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said crews were working with Xcel to restore power to areas within the burn to avoid burst pipes at evacuated homes.
Meanwhile, Boulder County spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said those without power who felt they would not be safe in their homes overnight could also use the emergency shelters opened for the Marshall Fire evacuees.
Shelters are open at Lafayette YMCA, 2800 Dagny Way; and in Longmont at the Rocky Mountain Christian Church, 9447 Niwot Road.
Adults with COVID should go to the COVID Recovery Center at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 3485 Stanford Court in Boulder.
Those with power but not gas can also pick up a free electric heater at the YMCA in Lafayette at 2800 Dagny Way or at the Boulder YWCA at 2222 14th St.
While the sky above Boulder County was filled with ash and smoke on Thursday afternoon, the sky on Friday gave way to snowfall starting in the afternoon.
The National Weather Service reported 4.8 inches as of 6 p.m. Friday in Boulder, with an expected total of up to 10 inches by the time the storm dissipates.
Louisville resident Blaise Breton was forced to evacuate to Boulder on Thursday afternoon after her home fell under the mandatory evacuation area in Louisville.
“Before we even found out about the evacuation notice, we saw houses burning about a half of a mile from our house, on the other side of Harper Lake,” Breton said. “We were just like, ‘yep, OK, time to go.’”
Breton and her two roommates sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic to escape the heat only to find themselves on Friday dealing with the cold and snow in Boulder.
“I literally just grabbed whatever I could and threw it into a bag. And then of course, it snows today, and I almost died in the car driving through Boulder,” said Breton, referring to her two-wheel drive Honda Fit. “Like, actually died. The roads are so bad.”
Up the road in Longmont, total snowfall is is expected to be between 4 to 6 inches. Longmont native Garrison Vigil expressed his shock at the winter storm while trudging down Main Street.
“I mean, we knew it was coming, but it’s really crazy that after yesterday, it’s going to snow half a foot,” he said.
Early Thursday evening, Vigil and his girlfriend fled to a family member’s house in Longmont after receiving a mandatory evacuation order for their Broomfield home.
“I really am thankful for the snow today,” said Vigil. “Even though the weather is unbelievable right now, I’m just glad that my house is still there.”