With winds gusting to over 40 mph and visibility down to less than 50 feet, area schools canceled classes, many local businesses shut their doors and county offices closed, turning employees loose early so they could make it home before the worst of the blizzard hit March 23.
The Elbert County News caught up with some folks in Kiowa the day after the blizzard to see how they weathered the storm and spent their snow day.
Rhonda Braun, elections manager for Elbert County, arrived home safely only to be tossed into a snowbank by her son.
“We had these big drifts in front of our house, and my 18-year-old just threw me in,” she said with a laugh.
The two made snow angels before heading inside to wait out the storm, watching movies and playing card games.
“Not at all,” said Bruce Rye of Elbert about the storm’s effect on his day.
Rye’s snow day proceeded pretty much as he’d planned. Following a move to town six months ago, he and his wife had planned to stay home to paint their kitchen March 23.
With painting supplies already in hand, the only trip Rye needed to make on March 23 was a post-painting run to the corner store to pick up beer for himself and the two friends who helped out with the job.
County employee Rachel Buchanan took her time to make the drive to her home in Elbert. Typically only a 13-minute drive, the 10-mile commute took Buchanan more than 35 minutes.
She spent the remainder of the day with her teenage kids, who were both off for spring break, playing card games and baking a cake.
Fellow county employee Sherry Hewlett picked her way around abandoned cars for an hour and a half to complete her 40-mile trip home to Calhan, but the trek between her car and front door may have been the worst part of the trip.
“The wind was blowing so hard that I got soaking wet between the car and the house,” she said.
Once safely inside and dried off, Hewlett spend the afternoon playing with her grandson.
Keri Becklund, owner of Hair Addicts in Kiowa, closed her doors, but not because of the blizzard. She had made plans for the day, but the storm foiled those. Closed roads prevented her from picking up her daughter in Colorado Springs and her tax accountant canceled.
She spent the day binge-watching episodes of “The Walking Dead” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Becklund was finally able to pick up her daughter early on March 24.
“The roads were still terrible,” she said. “My daughter counted at least 10 cars off the road between Castle Rock and Kiowa.”