The inch count on the Denver metro area's biggest snow storm of the winter is inching upwards, as 12 inches are now expected to blanket parts of the region by Sunday night.
Initial forecast had put the storm's total at 10 inches, but by 11:30 a.m. as much as 7 inches had already fallen in some Denver areas, according to Jim Kalina, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Boulder.
The foothills west of Denver had gotten 6 inches to 12 inches Sunday morning and 14 inches was reported west of Fort Collins, Kalina said.
The storm, which is expected to end Sunday night, has caused icy conditions on roads and highways — leading to some accidents — and forced delays and cancellations at Denver International Airport.
Denver's 70 snowplows are on the streets, clearing major arteries, said Ann Williams, spokeswoman for Denver's Department of Public Works.
Public libraries in Denver and other parts of the metro area closed for the day.
"We're seeing a lot of icy roads," Williams said. "The pavement is very cold and the snow is bonding to the pavement so we have a lot of slick conditions. We are trying to stay with it. The snow is coming down fairly fast and fairly heavy."
For only the third time since a two blizzards in December 2006 and a hard cold caused dangerous driving conditions that lasted for weeks on residential streets in the winter of 2006-2007, the city is deploying four-by-four pickup trucks equipped with plows into residential neighborhoods, Williams said.
The plows won't scrape down to pavement but will shave off layers of snow to avoid the deep ruts the that formed in 2006, Williams said.
The residential plows are only deployed between Nov. 15 and March 15 under conditions that include prolonged freezing temperatures.
The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays of up to two hours for arrivals and departures at DIA.
The airlines have reported approximately 200 departure and arrival cancellations, said DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale.
DIA averages 1,700 departure and arrival flights a day — on a average Sunday there are between 1,500 and 1,600 arriving and departing flights.
Airlines leaving the airport will be deicing throughout the day, so most flights can expect some delay, Coale said.
Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said the number of reported accidents has been picking up throughout the morning, and Denver is now on snow alert.
The driver of a vehicle that collided with a Colorado Department of Transportation snowplow on Highway 40 near Empire was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
The CDOT driver wasn't injured, said CDOT spokeswoman Mindy Crane.
"There have been a handful of accidents," Crane said. "I have heard of more in the high country than there have been in the metro area."
CDOT's Crane said that by 9 a.m. no roads were closed but the department will update road conditions throughout the day.
Traffic on the Interstate 70 corridor is moving slowly, Crane said.
DIA snow removal crews were also mobilized. Pena Boulevard has been chemically treated and is mostly wet with isolated areas of patchy thin slush. Runways are clear and open.
DIA has more than 250 pieces of snow removal equipment and approximately 500 trained snow removal personnel.
DIA officials recommends passengers download the free FlySmart travel app for the Blackberry, iPhone and Android. FlySmart Airport is the only travel app that features content downloaded directly from www.flydenver.com.