AFTER THE STORM: Schools, courts, county offices still closed as Aurora digs out after historic blizzard

AURORA | Though snow stopped falling last night in the Denver metro region, Aurora is suffering the aftermath of a historic bomb cyclone storm with lingering power outages, 8-foot snow drifts and hundreds of marooned vehicles on city streets.

A city Facebook post says Aurora snowplows out in full force today.

Power is still out for thousands of people across Colorado and the metro area, including in Aurora, according to an Xcel Energy map of outages. Xcel said 85,000 customers were without power as of 7 a.m. this morning due to problems ranging from broken power line poles, electric lines slapping together in the wind and some poles that burst into flames following heavy rain.
Those numbers had greatly improved by midday, when about 11,000 customers were still without power, according to Xcel. In social media posts, the company said crews would restore power for a vast majority of those affected today – though repair could bleed into tomorrow for a small number of customers.
Aurora students are enjoying the second of two snow days this week, as Aurora Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District both canceled classes and evening activities for the day.
Cherry Creek is dealing with extremely deep snow in the eastern section of the school district, said spokeswoman Abbe Smith. At Altitude Elementary School snow has swept up as deep as eight feet in drifts, and Sky Vista Middle School has a broken skylight.
District buses are also working with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office to rescue victims of car crashes on Interstate 70.
Smith said crews will work through the night to remove the snow, and the district is expected to reopen tomorrow.
APS did not immediately respond to request for comment on whether facilities suffered any damage.

County and district courts in the 18th Judicial District were closed for a second consecutive day Thursday, according to a spokesman for the state court system. 

City courts and courts in the 17th Judicial District — which covers Adams and Broomfield Counties — opened at 12 p.m. today. All jury trials scheduled to take place in municipal court today were cancelled. 

The proceedings will be rescheduled at a later date.

Arapahoe County offices were also closed for a second consecutive day on Thursday. Offices in Adams County opened at 12 p.m. on Thursday.

Art classes, youth sport programs and preschool classes provided by the city were also cancelled on Thursday. The Beck Recreation Center is closed for the day. 

At least two city commission and committee meetings were also postponed.


Aurora police are working to clear the many abandoned cars still stranded on the city’s roadways. In a Facebook post, police said they rescued more than 200 stranded motorists last night. 

Contractors are beginning to tow stranded cars starting on East 56th Avenue near Jackson Gap and Denver International Airport. That area was particularly problematic for travel last night.

Police have contracted with tow companies and are towing vehicles to temporary lots around the city, according to a department spokesman.

Police are not disclosing the exact location of the lots for security reasons.

Police have instructed drivers who abandoned a vehicle on an Aurora road during the storm to call 303-739-6319 to see if their vehicle has been towed. Drivers whose vehicles have been towed will be instructed to go to Aurora police headquarters at 15001 E. Alameda Pkwy. with their license plate number, identification document, and car insurance, according to police. Drivers who keep their insurance documents in their cars will be able to retrieve the papers after picking up their vehicles.

Drivers will have to pay a one-time $75 fee to retrieve their cars. 

Additional fees may be incurred on people who don’t pick up their vehicles by 5 p.m. on March 16.

We realize dealing with the aftermath of this storm was stressful for everyone, and we are more than willing to work with everyone as we realize many of you are still enduring hardships,” police wrote on Facebook. “We do appreciate you making every effort to help us clear your vehicle from the snow routes, and other roadways.”