Source: 9 News

KUSA – Gov. Jared Polis has authorized the Colorado National Guard to help in assisting drivers who have been stranded in the blizzard that has left many roads in the state virtually impassable.

In a tweet, the Colorado Office of Emergency Management also said that Polis has “verbally declared an emergency” in wake of what 9NEWS Meteorologist Cory Reppenhagen referred to as a “historic” storm.

The National Guard will largely be helping stranded motorists, according to the tweet.

“Governor has authorized the activation of the Colorado National Guard and declared an emergency due to the storm that is currently impacting the Front Range,” a statement from the Governor’s Office reads. “The Colorado National Guard will be activated for search, rescue and life safety operations. The Colorado Emergency Operations Center, coordinated by DHSEM, along with CDOT is working with local counties to prioritize the most immediate needs for those resources.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also declared a state of emergency, which makes additional resources available from the state should that be necsesary.

Adams County has also issued an emergency declaration, which allows the Colorado National Guard to deploy resources.

This comes as Pena Boulevard – the main artery into Denver International Airport – became virtually impassable due to multiple crashes blocking the typically busy multi-lane road. It has since reopened, but DIA said it had to remove more than 50 cars from the road.

Interstate 25 has been closed for hours between the Douglas County line and Monument. I-70 is also closed from Denver to the eastern Plains, and as have all the high mountain passes in southwestern Colorado.

The city of Colorado Springs tweeted that 500 motorists are stranded in El Paso County alone. This has led many jurisdictions to open up shelters for stranded motorists. You can view the map below for a look at emergency operation centers around the state.