Fox News Weather Center

PHOTOS: Immobilizing snowstorm forces Denver airport to close for first time in a decade

A powerful spring storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in Denver created travel chaos on Wednesday, March 23.

Hundreds of miles of highways were closed, officials restricted city driving to those with tire chains and the Denver International Airport (DIA) was forced to close for the first time in a decade.

Residents took to social media to explain their dismay at the disruptive storm when just the day before, temperatures soared to the 70-degree Fahrenheit mark. People flocked outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm air.

But March is Denver's snowiest month, historically, and this storm was a perfect example of how volatile spring systems can be.

The storm resulted in the fifth largest calendar day snowfall in Denver during March, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 1,300 flights were canceled at DIA on Wednesday, leaving travelers stranded across the country. In the morning hours, the airport lost power as snow pummeled the city. More than 80,000 Xcel customers lost power at one point in the area.

Once conditions were deemed unsafe for departure and arrival traffic, passengers were stuck in the airport as roads to parking lots and other exit points were not cleared.

Some people took to sleeping on the floor, waiting until the airport reopened on Thursday morning to continue with their travels.

Delta and United announced a waiver for those impacted by the storm. Southwest extended their rebooking policy.

Playlist used for trending content.

Ground travel was also restricted as officials encouraged Denver motorists to stay off roadways due to unsafe conditions. Multiple spin-outs were reported and jack-knifed trucks were spotted across major highways.

Interstates 70 and 25 closed at various points throughout the day due to numerous accidents and hazardous conditions. Parts of I-70 were still closed early Thursday morning.

Continued cleanup efforts might be hindered by the next storm set to move in on Friday night, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards.

"A disturbance will move across the Denver area Friday night into Saturday and bring some snow," he said. "Accumulations of 2-4 inches are expected."

Travel will likely not be as severely impacted as the midweek storm, he said, as the snow will does not accumulate as well with higher daytime temperatures. Slick spots could develop during the evening, however.