Powerful storm drops up 20 inches of snow in Colorado mountines;one killed

A powerful storm that dropped up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow in parts of Colorado knocked out power to thousands of people closed a major stretch of a major highway and triggered rock slides in the foothills.

A 73-year-old Denver woman died after a tree limb snapped off and struck her, while a 74-year-old elderly man who got lost while snowshoeing was found safe after a night outdoors in the foothills outside Denver.

Authorities said 150 miles (240 kilometers) of westbound Interstate 70 was closed from the Kansas line to Denver. The entire highway was closed for the 80 miles (130 kilometers) between Denver and Limon, where truck stop parking lots were overflowing.

More than 70 people were staying overnight in four Red Cross shelters opened for drivers stranded along I-70, spokesman Robert Thompson said.

The storm cut off power to 50,000 homes and businesses when power lines snapped and transformers failed, Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Henley said. "You could hear them popping," said Tom Hartman, who was shoveling snow outside the Schlessman Family YMCA in Denver when the transformers began to crackle and die, reports the AP. I.L.

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