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Hundreds Trapped on Colorado Highway in Record-Breaking Storm

Several hundred motorists were stranded on highways in Colorado during a wintry storm late Wednesday, authorities said.

Micki Trost, a public information officer for Colorado's emergency operations center, said that around 200 people were stuck in snowy conditions and winds of up to 50 mph on I-70 east of Denver.

Some people had spent more than eight hours in their vehicles while others had abandoned them and headed to shelters, Trost added.

The Colorado National Guard sent Humvees and troops to help drivers that became stranded on I-25 between Denver and Colorado Springs.

I-25 later opened in both directions but I-70 remained closed early Thursday.

Airline passengers brave blowing snow during a blizzard at Denver International Airport March 23, 2016.
Andy Cross | The Denver Post | CNBC
Airline passengers brave blowing snow during a blizzard at Denver International Airport March 23, 2016.

Colorado Department of Transportation communications director Amy Ford said it was unclear how many vehicles remained stranded on I-70 overnight.

Over a foot of snow fell at Denver International Airport Wednesday and 24 inches was recorded in nearby Boulder as a bout of winter-like weather struck than a week after the start of spring, the National Weather Service said. The 12.1 inches that fell at Denver International broke a one-day record.

Around 190,000 customers lost power in the state as the storm hit, Xcel Energy Colorado said, but by early Thursday power had been restored to all but around 26,500 customers. Workers were brought in from Nebraska and Texas and power was expected to be mostly restored to by late Thursday, the utility said.

Winter storm warnings were still in place from Nebraska to Wisconsin, and Green Bay was under a blizzard warning until 1 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service said. Up to a foot could fall on the city.

Farther east in New York, winter weather advisories were in place for a swath of the Lake Ontario shore to the Vermont border early Thursday.