Mar 13, 2024 - News

Denver rolls out rare "tier 4" response to prepare for mega snowstorm

A Denver employee assists with snow operations around Civic Center Park on Jan. 27, 2022. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver is preparing for significant snowfall through Friday that could exceed a foot, if not more.

Why it matters: It's estimated the city hasn't seen a storm like this in three years.

State of play: Mayor Mike Johnston said during a Wednesday news briefing his administration is carrying out a rare "tier 4" response, the highest level available.

  • Denver will deploy the "maximum" number of large snow plows to clear main roadways, he said.
  • The city has also activated severe weather shelters from 6pm Wednesday to 9am Saturday, and has paused booting out migrants from city shelters who have reached their time limit.

By the numbers: The city's transportation department is deploying 54 large snow plows across the city to clear roadways and drop deicer as needed two times a day.

  • 36 smaller residential plows will clear side streets starting at 3am Thursday and continue through Friday to create paths to main streets.
  • The smaller plows will not bring the street to bare pavement, however, and will only shave the top few inches of snow off the street at least once every 24 hours.
  • The city also aims to plow protected bikeways at least once every day, with the caveat that bike lanes could require more time given the accumulation expected.

What they're saying: Johnston is encouraging residents to "stay home" and "out of traffic," and is closing city offices to in-person services to help facilitate that, he said.

  • "The message, really, for people in Denver is to be prepared that this storm could be impacting you starting [Thursday] all the way through Friday and potentially into the weekend," transportation director Amy Ford said at the news briefing.

The latest: As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 185 flights have been delayed or canceled traveling to or from Denver's airport, FlightAware figures show.

The intrigue: The St. Patrick's Day Parade remains scheduled for Saturday.

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