Tornadoes Hit Iowa; Snow Triggers Avalanche

Spring storms brought heavy snow to parts of the West and triggered an avalanche, while spawning high wind, hail and tornadoes (search) in the Midwest.

In Colorado (search), the snow swept across the heavily populated Front Range after the evening rush hour Wednesday, dropping visibility in some parts of the Denver area to near zero. No one was injured when an avalanche came cascading down on Red Mountain Pass, but U.S. 550 was closed.

A foot of snow fell on Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat Springs, where the ski resort was reporting 9 inches of snow in the past 24 hours.

At least 5 inches of snow fell in the resort town of Telluride, and strong winds were driving it sideways, said Cash East, a bartender at the Smuggler's Brew Pub.

"I had a rough time walking to work. I'm glad I wasn't driving," East said.

Up to a foot of snow fell in Utah's mountains and 10 inches in the Salt Lake City (search) area, making rush hour traffic a mess. There was an avalanche Wednesday evening in Utah County, but authorities said it did not appear anyone had been caught in it.

"It's another 'powder as far as the eye can see' sort of day," said Evelyn Lees, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center.

In the Midwest, storms packing hail and high winds spawned five tornadoes in north-central Iowa and damaged buildings in Wisconsin and Illinois.

No major damage was caused by the tornadoes, the National Weather Service said.

Greg Goeller, a dairy farmer in Wisconsin, said the storm leveled two of his buildings and damaged six others -- including the barn he and others were in when the roof was torn away. No one was injured.

"There was lumber thrown to side walls, roofs that were peeled off like a sardine (can). You just look around and go, 'Wow,"' he said.