Denver, CO Mar. 20 (AP by Colleen Slevin)--The first day of spring brought a powerful snow storm to Colorado and Wyoming on Monday, canceling flights, causing early school dismissals and even stopping ski lifts.
Snow showers also stretched into parts of northern Arizona, eastern Utah and western South Dakota.
The storm, which was not expected to move out until Tuesday afternoon, carried strong winds into the northern mountains of Colorado, reaching 80 mph in Steamboat Springs and forcing the ski resort to close its lifts.
``It's just ripping through here,'' resort spokesman Mike Lane said.
Resort staff were evacuating 200 people from the top of the mountain on snow cats and snowmobiles. Most of the people were on foot and had ridden the gondola up the mountain.
In Denver and northeastern Colorado, the National Weather Service forecast winds of up to 35 mph and substantial drifting snow.
In southeast Wyoming, 15 inches of snow fell in Chugwater and 10 inches fell in Woods Landing, and some highways were closed because of the blowing snow.
United Airlines canceled 131 of its 300 flights at Denver International Airport in anticipation of the storm.
The storm also led some schools to dismiss their students early.
Slick roads caused trouble on highways Monday morning. A tractor-trailer jackknifed on Interstate 70 near Floyd Hill, and an accident involving five cars on Colorado Highway 287 killed a 23-year-old man.
But while numerous other highway accidents occurred, no other deaths or serious injuries were reported in Colorado or Wyoming.
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press