COLORADO, USA — Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday authorized the Colorado National Guard to help in assisting drivers who had been stranded in the blizzard that left many roads in the state virtually impassable.

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

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The National Guard largely helped 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 necessary. 

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

The city of Colorado Springs tweeted that 500 motorists were 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.

The blizzard was brought on by a “bomb cyclone,” which is defined as a massive drop in pressure in under 24 hours.

Wind gusts reached up to 80 mph in spots, and blowing snow led to virtually nonexistent visibility on some roads.

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In Denver, multiple traffic lights were out. Tens and thousands of people were without power in what Xcel Energy described as a “multi-day event.”

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