Weathering flights

Some try connecting through Nashville instead

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Georgeanne Raftopoulos pulls her bag from the belt at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Thursday. Raftopoulos flew in from Missouri to visit her father in Craig.

— Flights between Denver International Airport and Steamboat Springs have been canceled again as the Denver area suffers through another major winter storm.

The Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden was open Thursday night and flights coming from outside Colorado were running on schedule. The United flights headed to and coming from Denver were a different story.

"The only issues we see tonight into tomorrow night is the Denver flights," Ann Copeland, YVRA terminal manager, said Thursday afternoon.

Two departing Yampa Valley Regional Airport United flights headed for DIA with 99 people were canceled Thursday because of weather in Denver.

One of those planes was scheduled to be in Knoxville, Tenn., this morning so it went directly there instead of going through Denver. Six passengers who planned to make connections in Denver, caught a ride on the Tennessee-bound flight with hopes of making a connection there, Copeland said.

An incoming United Boeing-737 with 120 passengers also was canceled Thursday, she said.

That same plane was scheduled to head back to Denver this morning, but that flight also has been canceled.

"From there, we're just going to have to play it by ear to see how the weather goes," Copeland said.

Forecasters Thursday were predicting 18 inches of snow would fall on the Denver area overnight, threatening to close DIA.

The latest flight cancellations came a week after a snowstorm paralyzed the city of Denver, closing DIA for 45 hours. Luggage separated from Steamboat passengers because of last week's storm was still arriving at YVRA on Thursday.

"We just almost got caught up from last time, so it has been brutal for the passengers," Copeland said.

YVRA has set up a passenger service desk phone number to assist passengers with rescheduling and flight information. The number is 276-5018.

Meteorologist Joe Ramey with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said Steamboat likely would not receive as much snow as it did during last week's Front Range blizzard.

"It was incredible that you guys got 11 inches," Ramey said. "We're hoping for six inches in the mountains."

The latest storm is similar to the one last week, but it tracked further south and there was not as much moisture.

"One of the problems is it has been much warmer than we thought it would be today," Ramey said Thursday afternoon.

A winter storm warning was downgraded Thursday for Colorado's western mountains to a snow and winter weather advisory.

He expected it would start snowing Thursday night in Steamboat, with the heaviest snow falling during the day today and into tonight.

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