Massive late-winter storm halts travel across the Front Range | Colorado Springs News

A late-winter storm halted travel across the Front Range on Sunday, closing Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock and shutting down all six runways at Denver International Airport.

A blizzard warning was in effect until midnight Sunday for much of Colorado’s Front Range, stretching from northern El Paso County to the Wyoming state line. Sustained winds and wet, heavy snow canceled more than 1,400 flights at DIA and threatened to upend Denver’s one-day snowfall record while tangling traffic on ice-slicked roads across the state.

“Stay put, please,” urged the Colorado State Patrol, which scrambled to keep up with crashes, slide-offs and even overturned snowplows on Interstate 70 west of Denver during the second round of a two-day storm system.

Colorado snow totals for March 13-14 storm: Huge numbers across the Front Range

DIA closes all runways, cancels more than 1,000 flights as Denver area receives nearly 2 feet of snow

Both lanes of I-70 were closed between Golden and Floyd Hill on Sunday, stranding some ski-country visitors, and one trooper remarked that the snow squall left him unable to see his own road flares at a traffic blockade.

In many places, schools and government offices were closed or put on reduced hours Monday. Although the snow was on course to peter out by Monday morning, drivers were warned to expect perilous commutes due to slick roads.

In the Pikes Peak region, blowing snow and white-out conditions led authorities to close Interstate 25 in both directions between Interquest Parkway in Colorado Springs and Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock. Highways 83 and 105 were also closed, blocking travel to the north. No word on a reopening was available as of press time Sunday.

El Paso County’s full complement of 36 plows was active throughout the day, even as authorities cautioned against unnecessary travel. Police in Colorado Springs and Fountain were on accident alert, meaning they responded only to crashes with serious injuries.

Below Pikes Peak, Monument was hit perhaps hardest, falling within the southern tip of a blizzard warning that followed the Rocky Mountains to Wyoming. Blizzards are characterized by blowing snow reducing visibility to ¼-mile or less for three hours or longer, plus sustained winds of at least 35 mph.

Monument and Black Forest received 10 to 16 inches by Sunday evening, while northern Colorado Springs received 6 to 10 inches, according to Eric Petersen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pueblo. Southern Colorado Springs and Fountain received between 3 and 6 inches.

In the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Teller County communities dodged the blizzard designation even as they received what could be a historic dumping — exceeding 22 inches of accumulation in Woodland Park, by one resident’s measurement.

No snowfall records were available for the area, but this year’s storm left Petersen reaching for a precedent. 

“It’s probably been a few years,” he said. “We had a big storm in 2003 that dumped at least this much or more.”

Although Colorado Springs Utilities had warned of potential disruptions to water and power in the Pikes Peak area, just one water outage affecting a couple dozen people was reported on the utility’s website as of 5 p.m. The Red Cross closed warming shelters in Colorado Springs and Monument on Sunday because they were empty. A third, in Peyton, remained open.

Parts of the Eastern Plains were likewise pummeled. Northeast of Colorado Springs, all Elbert County roads were closed effective at 4 p.m., and the county declared a state of emergency, warning that abandoned vehicles would be moved to aid in snow removal.

Denver’s nearly 2 feet of snow made for one of its biggest snowstorms in years.

“This may end up being the highest one-day total for them,” Petersen said.

Just before noon, Denver International Airport announced it had closed all runways because of blowing snow and low visibility, and all airlines ceased had ceased operations for the day by 5 p.m. More than 1,400 flights were canceled and dozens more delayed, according to

By 6 p.m., nearly all flights at Colorado Springs Airport were listed as canceled — roughly two dozen — and just a handful were operating on time or with delays, according to the city’s website.

The status of air travel at DIA on Monday remains unclear, officials said.

“Airlines have not yet decided on schedules for tomorrow, but delays and some cancellations are expected,” a DIA spokesman said in a written statement. “Passengers are strongly encouraged to check their flight status before coming to the airport tomorrow.”

Gazette editors Tom Roeder and Erin Prater and reporter Hannah Metzger contributed to this story. 

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Newsroom – Travel Alert: Winter Storm To Hit Colorado Stations

American is closely monitoring the winter storm currently expected to bring heavy snow and strong winds through several Colorado cities. The safety of our customers and team members is the airline’s No. 1 priority, and the team will remain in contact with those impacted by this harsh winter storm.

Earlier this week, American issued a travel alert for nine stations in Colorado, allowing customers whose travel plans are impacted by this storm to rebook without change fees. Customers can reschedule their travel on or by contacting Reservations at 800-433-7300 in the U.S. or Canada. If a customer chooses not to fly to/from an airport covered by the current waiver, American will waive change fees for future travel. Customers are also encouraged to check the status of their flight on

If an American flight has been canceled or excessively delayed, customers may cancel their itinerary and request a refund by visiting our website. Customers who booked through a travel agent should contact their travel agency directly.

About American Airlines Group
American’s purpose is to care for people on life’s journey. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL and the company’s stock is included in the S&P 500. Learn more about what’s happening at American by visiting and connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at

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Vaccinations moving in the right direction despite winter storm, Biden says – Austin American-Statesman

Vaccinations moving in the right direction despite winter storm, Biden says  Austin American-Statesman

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Hospitals confront water shortages in winter storm aftermath

Hospitals across the South grappled with water shortages Sunday as the region carried on with recovery efforts in the wake of a devastating winter storm, and the weather offered a balmy respite — temperatures as high as the mid-60s.

At the height of the storm, hospitals were left scrambling to care for patients amid record cold, snow and ice that battered parts of the country more accustomed to going through winter with light jackets and short sleeves. The icy blast ruptured water mains, knocked out power to millions of utility customers and contributed to at least 76 deaths — half of which occurred in Texas. At least seven people died in Tennessee and four in Portland, Oregon.

A rural hospital in Anahuac, Texas, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Houston, lost both water and power.

William Kiefer, CEO of Chambers Health, which runs the hospital along with two clinics and a wellness center, said the facilities resorted to backup generators and water from a 275-gallon storage tank. They refilled it three times using water from a swimming pool in the wellness center.

On Monday, when temperatures were in the teens, a woman about to give birth walked into the hospital after she could not make it through the ice and snow to her hospital in suburban Houston. Emergency room staff delivered the baby safely, Kiefer said.

“It would have taken her another two hours to get to (the suburban Houston hospital) if our facility wasn’t there,” he said. “We can probably assume she would have had the baby in her car and the snow. Not a good situation.”

Water was restored Thursday, and operations had returned to normal on Sunday, he said. The health system plans to look into installing more sophisticated backup systems, he said.

Volunteer Taiya Edwards, 18, places a pack of tortillas on a vehicle during the Neighborhood Super Site food distribution event organized by the Houston Food Bank and HISD, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Volunteer Taiya Edwards, 18, places a pack of tortillas on a vehicle during the Neighborhood Super Site food distribution event organized by the Houston Food Bank and HISD, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Houston Methodist Hospital spokeswoman Gale Smith said water had been restored at two of the system’s community hospitals. The system is dealing with an influx of dialysis patients after their local centers closed, she added.

After temperatures plunged as much as 40 degrees below normal last week, the forecast for the Houston area called for a high of 65 degrees (18 degrees Celsius) on Sunday. The city lifted its boil-water advisory on Sunday afternoon.

Still, hundreds of cars lined up at NRG Stadium to receive food and water from the Houston Food Bank. The bank also delivered supplies to vulnerable citizens, including seniors and the disabled.

Memphis, Tennessee, saw 10 inches of snow last week. Memphis, Light, Gas & Water issued a boil-water advisory on Thursday out of concern that low water pressure caused by problems at aging pumping stations and water main ruptures could lead to contamination. The advisory was still in place Sunday; utility officials said they did not know when they might lift it.

About 260,000 homes and businesses were under the advisory. Hospitals and nursing homes have been forced to switch to bottled water. The Tennessee National Guard was supplying St. Francis Hospital with water.


Nearby Baptist Memorial Hospital has taken on some of St. Francis’ patients, particularly those who need dialysis, said Dr. Jeff Wright, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Baptist. That hospital has a water purification system for dialysis and has water reserves for tasks such as cooking and bathing patients, he said.

“We have gallon jugs of water that were already stocked and ready to roll on day one,” Wright said.

A volunteer carries food to be distributed during the Neighborhood Super Site food distribution event organized by the Houston Food Bank and HISD, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A volunteer carries food to be distributed during the Neighborhood Super Site food distribution event organized by the Houston Food Bank and HISD, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare also reported problems at some of its Memphis-area facilities due to water pressure problems and the boil advisory. The system is using tanker trucks to boost water pressure and relying on help from facilities that have not been affected.

City officials planned to distribute water bottles at several locations Sunday. Grocery stores struggled to keep shelves stocked with bottled water. Many restaurants remained closed.

Flights resumed Saturday at Memphis International Airport after everything was grounded Friday because of water pressure problems. Some problems still lingered, but airport officials set up temporary restrooms.

The White House said about a third of the COVID-19 vaccine doses delayed by the storm were delivered over the weekend.

The weather created a backlog of about 6 million doses as power outages closed some vaccination centers and icy weather stranded vaccine in shipping hubs. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC’s “This Week” that about 2 million of those doses have gone out.

In Nashville, Tennessee, local COVID-19 task force leader Dr. Alex Jahangir said more than 2,300 seniors and teachers got vaccinated Saturday as the city resumed offering shots after days of treacherous weather.

Due to the wintry mess, local health officials last week vaccinated more than 500 people with doses that otherwise would have expired, including hundreds at homeless shelters and residents of a historically Black neighborhood who were mostly seniors with underlying health conditions.

Nearly 230,000 customers across the South were still without power as of Sunday, according to, a website that tracks power outages. The largest blackouts were in Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon. Each state had more than 30,000 customers without power.

Hundreds of cars come through NRG Park to get food supplies during the Neighborhood Super Site food distribution event organized by the Houston Food Bank and HISD, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Hundreds of cars come through NRG Park to get food supplies during the Neighborhood Super Site food distribution event organized by the Houston Food Bank and HISD, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

President Joe Biden is eager to visit Texas, which was hit especially hard by the weather, Psaki said. Biden hopes to travel to the state this week but “doesn’t want to take away resources” from the response, she said. Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Saturday.

“He is . . . very mindful of the fact that it’s not a light footprint for a president to travel to a disaster area.


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Biden can come anytime.

“We certainly would welcome him,” Turner said.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul told CNN’s “State of the Union” that federal disaster relief can be used to repair burst pipes and flood damage and to help Texans hit with skyrocketing energy bills.

McCaul also criticized fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s decision to take his family on vacation amid the crisis.

“When a crisis hits my state, I’m there,” McCaul said. “I’m not going to go on some vacation. I know Mr. Cruz called it a mistake, and he’s owned up to that. But I think that was a big mistake.”

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Texas storm: millions without heat, water and power as Cruz travel backlash continues – live | US news

Jewish communities, like others across the state, are taking steps to address their own needs. In Dallas, one of the region’s two Jewish senior living centers lost both its main power and backup generator, forcing the staff to quickly relocate residents to the area’s other senior center — fortunately it had spare room, having just recently opened.

Two Orthodox Jewish-run emergency response units, Hatzalah of Dallas and the newly formed Texas Chaverim, both founded by a local resident, Baruch Shawel, sent out patrols to assist residents with dead car batteries, medical emergencies and other issues.

“It’s been pretty wild out here,” Hannah Lebovits, a professor at the University of Texas-Arlington who lives in an Orthodox community in north Dallas, said of the rolling blackouts, which accompany other problems like loss of heat and water pressure. “Thankfully in the Jewish community, very often we quickly create our own mutual aid systems.”

Still, Lebovits said, “It shouldn’t be Chaverim doing that. It should be the city of Dallas knocking on my door and checking on me.”

In Houston, too, Jewish leaders are leaning on coordination groundwork laid long before the unusual cold snap set in. Traumatized by the patchwork Jewish response to Hurricane Harvey’s devastating floods, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston had convened the Jewish Response and Action Network in early 2020, even before the pandemic.

“After Harvey, each shul made its own response. They made their own food. It wasn’t coordinated,” said Jackie Fisherman, the network’s director and the Houston federation’s director of government affairs. “We thought there must be a better way.”

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News to Know for Feb. 19: Travel warning as ice storm continues; Vaccine shipments delayed; Officer-involved s – WWBT NBC12 News

News to Know for Feb. 19: Travel warning as ice storm continues; Vaccine shipments delayed; Officer-involved s  WWBT NBC12 News

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Governor Cuomo Reminds New Yorkers to Use Extreme Caution While Traveling as Winter Storm Will Impact New York Through Friday Night

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today reminded New Yorkers to be extremely cautious when traveling over the next 48 hours as a winter storm system is expected to create hazardous conditions on roadways. Despite losing strength as it moved towards the northeast, the system is still forecast to bring up to 8 inches of snow in some locations throughout the Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island regions by Friday. New Yorkers should stay alert and limit travel in order for snow plow operators to safely clear snow and ice without worry of traffic congestion.


“New York’s emergency management officials have been tracking this current storm for several days now, and while it appears to have reduced in strength, it still has the potential to create hazardous travel conditions, especially downstate,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York’s road crews are second to none and they will get the job done – they just need room to work. So, as the snow continues to intensify, New Yorkers should do their best to avoid unnecessary travel, and if you must drive somewhere, please do so as safely as possible and be sure to give plows the space they need.”


Light snow has already begun in portions of the Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island regions and will spread northward late afternoon into tonight, continuing to produce periods of snow into Friday.  The heaviest snowfall is expected south of the Interstate 90 corridor with lighter snow continuing Friday before tapering off in the afternoon.  The rest of the state should see a dusting to a couple of inches of snow by the time the system exits the state on Friday.  Temperatures should remain near or above normal for most of the state with steady winds gusting up to 20 mph occasionally.


For a complete listing of weather advisories in your area, visit your area’s National Weather Service website.


Agency Preparations


Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will closely monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and remain in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event. State stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags, generators, cots, blankets and bottled water.


Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with more than 3,600 supervisors and operators available statewide.  To support the upcoming snow and ice 1,599 large snow plows event, NYSDOT is sending 76 additional operators from upstate regions to activate reserve plows on priority routes in the lower Mid-Hudson Region and Long Island.  In addition, NYSDOT is staging tow services on heavily traveled corridors to ensure crashes are cleared quickly and safely.


NYSDOT is also coordinating with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to place sawyer crews on standby in the Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier and Long Island regions to clear downed trees and quickly remove them from state highways.  Variable message signs will urge motorists to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.


The Department has the following assets available for the upcoming snow and ice event:


  • 313 large loaders
  • 174 medium duty plows
  • 80 chippers
  • 52 tow plows
  • 38 snow blowers
  • 36 traffic tower platforms
  • 18 graders
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks
  • 11 pickups with plows


Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 690 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 247 large snow plows, 106 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows and 62 loaders across the state with more than 117,000 tons of road salt on hand.


Variable Message Signs and social media are utilized to alert motorists of winter weather conditions on the Thruway. The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app, which is available for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway here.


Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather. All available assets are positioned to assist with any emergency response.


Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. State Park Police snowmobile units and park Sawyer crews are prepared to assist in the storm response. Park visitors should check or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.


Department of Public Service

New York’s utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration efforts across New York State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities’ work throughout the storm event and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to be impacted the most.


New York State Police

State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles, snowmobiles and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.


New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation

The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation staff has performed preparations for the forecasted weather to ensure all facilities, assets and equipment are secured and ready. The Power Authority is prepared to support power restoration activities if needed.


Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closely monitoring weather conditions to ensure safe, reliable service. MTA employees will be poised to spread salt and clear platforms and stairs of snow and ice, keep signals, switches, and third rail operating Customers are encouraged to check for the latest service updates, and to use caution while navigating the system. Customers should also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA’s apps: MYmta, Metro-North Train Time and Long Island Rail Road Train Time.


Port Authority

The Port Authority urges travelers at its facilities to use caution during the storm. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers through the Port Authority’s airports, bus terminal and bus station are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps.


Winter Safety Tips

Some of the most important tips for safe driving include:

  • When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
  • Use caution on bridges as ice can form quicker than on roads.
  • If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly colored cloth to use as a distress flag.
  • If you have a cell phone or other communications device such as a two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.
  • The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure that your vehicle is clear of ice and snow; good vision is key to good driving. Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert and remember that snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.


It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 mph, which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit, to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. Oftentimes on interstate highways, snowplows will operate side by side, as this is the most efficient and safe way to clear several lanes at one time.


Motorists and pedestrians should also keep in mind that snowplow drivers have limited lines of sight, and the size and weight of snowplows can make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists to drive is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted. 

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Spring Fire Department sees spike in calls, offers winter storm safety tips

From Sunday through Tuesday, the Spring Fire Department ran more than 280 calls in the first days of the frigid winter storm.

“In three days, we’ve run as many calls as we normally do in a slow month,” said Spring Fire Chief Scott Seifert.

“We’ve had a couple house fires; we’ve had a couple apartment fires that we’ve responded to — not just within our territory, but within our neighboring agencies’,” he said. “Space heaters seem to be an issue like it is every time it gets cold out there. Probably the biggest thing that this event is causing is broken water pipes. The power being out has been a major issue — there are people that are elderly who are on breathing devices, stuff like that. …So, everybody’s normal way of living is just impacted by it.”

The last ice storm Seifert recalls that came close in intensity to the one currently affecting the greater Houston region occurred about 30 years ago, he said.

“We’re used to hurricanes, we do hurricanes pretty well because we do them more often — arctic events like this we don’t do as often, so everything’s a learning process,” Seifert said.

With people already trying to adjust to a new normal during the pandemic, Seifert said challenges associated with a weather event like this may create compounding anxiety and further complications. For example, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when residents attempt to warm up inside their running car while parked in their garage or use their generator improperly.

“Everybody, they’re desperate to stay warm, desperate because the electricity’s off, they’re out of their comfort zone as far as the normalcy that we live in and so they do whatever they think they can to make things as close to normal as possible and the safety piece of that I think gets overlooked,” Seifert said.

One important safety tip Seifert urges people to heed is staying off the roads if at all possible. Despite the message being underscored in the news and online, Seifert said there are people who don’t believe it’s important for them to stay off the road during a winter freeze.

“The reality is: you might be able to handle it, but the next person out there might not be able to and then they could cause you a problem. …It only takes a quarter-of-an-inch of ice, or a tenth-of-an-inch to just totally cause your car to be uncontrollable,” he said.

With the freezing rain and snow, Seifert said the fire department has had to drive slower when responding to calls, increasing response times slightly. It’s required a heightened awareness of all surroundings as they take care to avoid any potential hazards on the road while answering calls.

“From people walking down the street, vehicles in the roadway, we have to have a lot more situational awareness than we do during the course of a normal response,” he said.

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Gas prices rise as winter storm hits southern US, travel demand climbs

Drivers are starting to feel some sticker shock when they top off their tanks as gas prices surge.

As gas prices hit their highest point during the pandemic, experts say things are only going to get worse.

“With all the hardship going on with the pandemic, this adds insult to injury about the gas prices,” says Joe Goren, of Plainview.

The average price per gallon on Long Island is $2.60, which has increased 4 cents in a week and 6 cents higher than this date last year.

Experts attribute the gas price increase to a few factors — including a rare round of winter weather hammering Texas, which has limited oil operations.

“Many refineries have shut down, pipelines have shut down, some ports on the Gulf Coast have shut down because of the cold weather,” says AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. “That leads to a further declines in supplies and increases in prices.”

Experts say another reason is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries isn’t producing as much oil due to low travel last year. During the height of the pandemic in April 2020, travel came to a standstill.

But with the vaccine rollout in recent weeks, more people are traveling, increasing demand and driving gasoline prices higher.

Expert say gas prices are expected to jump another 10-15 cents a gallon in the next few weeks, and could get even higher when summer comes around.

AAA says you can save money on gasoline by with these tips:

– Keep tires properly inflated because underinflated tires require more energy and gas to move the vehicle.

– Remove heavy items from the trunk. That extra weight creates more work for the engine which burns more gasoline.

– Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip.

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