DENVER, COLORADO – In a dramatic turn of events, an avalanche cascaded down Berthoud Pass on US 40, ensnaring ten vehicles in its snowy grip. Remarkably, no injuries were reported in the incident, which occurred at approximately 11:20 a.m. on Sunday, January 14. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and local law enforcement promptly responded to the crisis, successfully rescuing all vehicles and passengers from the slide.
The avalanche’s timing coincided with CDOT’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the avalanche danger in the area. Despite the crews’ continual clearing of earlier slides, additional bank slides have posed persistent challenges, re-covering the roadway with snow. Overnight teams have taken over the snow removal operations, tirelessly working to ensure that all possible clearing work is performed. Further slide mitigation efforts are expected to continue into Monday.
As US 40 Berthoud Pass remains closed, with no estimated time for reopening, travelers are advised to plan ahead and seek alternate routes. The closure stems from the ongoing avalanche danger, exacerbated by additional snowfall expected through the night and into Monday. Mountain areas may receive six to 12 inches of new snow, with potential accumulations exceeding three feet in northern mountain regions by Monday evening.
An Avalanche Warning, issued by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), remains in effect for much of the western slope and southwest Colorado. Given the extreme adverse conditions and high avalanche danger, travelers should be prepared for possible safety closures, sometimes implemented at short notice. Avalanche mitigation on several high-country highways is a possibility today, tomorrow, and in the coming week, as heavy snow and windy conditions persist.
Travelers are encouraged to stay updated on the latest road conditions by visiting COtrip.org. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure vehicles are winter-ready, with more information available at winter.codot.gov. For daily and hourly weather forecasts in the area, mobile.weather.gov offers the latest updates.
Safety First: Avalanche Awareness and Preparedness
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of avalanche awareness and preparedness in Colorado’s mountain regions. Here are some safety tips for travelers:
- Stay Informed: Check road conditions on COtrip.org and follow local weather forecasts.
- Vehicle Readiness: Ensure your vehicle is equipped for winter conditions. Visit winter.codot.gov for more tips.
- Avalanche Awareness: Be aware of avalanche risks in your area. Visit the CAIC website for current avalanche warnings.
- Have an Emergency Kit: Carry supplies like food, water, warm clothing, and a shovel in your vehicle.
- Avoid Risk Areas: Follow CDOT’s guidance and avoid traveling through areas with high avalanche danger.
Remember, the best way to stay safe is to be prepared and informed.
For the latest updates on road conditions, visit COtrip.org. For daily and hourly weather forecasts, check mobile.weather.gov. Stay safe and #WinterWise this season.