35 A Rare Ice Storm in the Intermountain Western U.S.: Societal Impacts

Tuesday, 26 June 2018
New Mexico/Santa Fe Room/Portal (La Fonda on the Plaza)
Jeffrey D. Colton, NOAA/NWS, Grand Junction, CO; and M. M. Stackhouse, J. Malingowski, D. Phillips, and M. P. Meyers

An extremely rare ice storm during the early morning hours of 09 January 2017 affected several valley locations in western Colorado and eastern Utah. Travel conditions were extremely treacherous with hundreds of vehicle accidents reported in the vicinity of Grand Junction, Colorado and near Durango, Colorado. First responders were overwhelmed at the volume increase of emergency calls and secondary services were requested from nearby municipalities to help manage the increased workload. The emergency operations center in Mesa County Colorado (Grand Junction) was activated as a result of the numerous accidents and injuries across the region. Additionally, the resultant ice accumulation created widespread power outages near Steamboat Springs and Durango, Colorado. The widespread impact of this ice event has not been experienced in western Colorado in over 100 years of climate record keeping. Given the rarity of this event, the focus of this case overview is to take a look at the widespread societal impacts that directly resulted from the 09 January ice storm. Secondly, communications between the National Weather Service Grand Junction Forecast Office and their core partners will be evaluated. These partners included but were not limited to the media, emergency management, Department of Transportation, school districts, and law enforcement.
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