Stores busy as Colo. prepares for major snowstorm

(AP) — Stores in Denver reported brisk business as customers stocked up on food ahead of a slow-moving winter storm that promised to bring nearly two feet of snow — an amount that would make it one of the heaviest snowstorms in the city's history.

"The cheese wall is hammered, bread's kind of hammered, milk's kind of low," said Aaron McFadden, a manager at a King Soopers store.

Ted Vaca at Argonaut Liquor said customers were snapping up all kinds of drink.

"It was more like a Friday than a Thursday," he said.

Snow began falling Thursday night, and forecasters said it could keep coming down until Saturday morning. The forecast prompted Colorado lawmakers to cancel legislative work on Friday. The Legislature in neighboring Nebraska also canceled Friday afternoon hearings because of the expected storm.

Also canceled were more than 150 arriving and departing flights at the Denver airport that had been scheduled through Friday night. State highways were becoming slick with snow and ice, and the Colorado Department of Transportation said it had deployed 47 snowplows.

A Learjet ran off a runway at the Pueblo airport as the storm moved in, but investigators hadn't determined if the weather was a factor. None of the 10 people aboard was injured, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Many school districts announced they would be closed on Friday, including the two largest, in Jefferson County and Denver.

A blizzard warning was issued for northeastern Colorado, where forecasters said up to 20 inches of snow could fall. Sustained winds of up to 30 mph could bring visibility to zero and make travel all but impossible. Forecasters said up to 22 inches of snow could fall on Denver by Saturday morning.

"We're looking at 36 hours of snow, maybe a little more than that," National Weather Service meteorologist Chad Gimmestad said.

Parts of Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas were also predicted to be hit by the storm.

The storm could break into the top 10 list of the heaviest snowstorms in Denver history. The city's 10th biggest dumped 22.1 inches in 1912, Gimmestad said. Denver's record is 45.7 inches from a 5-day wallop in 1913.

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