Thousands of travelers were stranded at airports and shelters on December 21, 2006 after a blizzard paralyzed Colorado and parts of other Western states. Snowfall measured over 50 inches in the Rocky Mountain foothills, and drifts reached more than five feet on airport runways. Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado declared a state of emergency, calling in National Guard troops to help stranded motorists reach home, a hotel or Red Cross shelters. At Denver International Airport, nearly 5,000 people were stuck overnight, the airport remained closed for 3 days. 30- to 40-mile-per-hour winds with falling snow, prevented cleanup. The snow was accumulating too fast to keep up with it. Cities along Colorado’s Front Range could not plow roads fast enough as the snow kept falling for over 24 hours, leaving 20 to 30 inches in Denver. Light-rail trains and bus service were canceled for days, and it was a week before side streets in Denver were plowed. Mail delivery was canceled and most businesses, including malls, were closed during the busiest shopping time of the year. With cars, trucks and buses abandoned on the roads, the cleanup was hindered. At Denver International Airport, thousands of passengers were bused to hotels and many others slept on the floor.
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