A powerful storm system bringing heavy snowfall was blowing into Colorado on Friday, a day after devastating wildfires fueled by hurricane-force winds destroyed hundreds of homes and forced tens of thousands to flee. Up to a foot of snow is expected in some parts of the state, in a blizzard that should help to extinguish the fires but could also present new “life-threatening” challenges to travel in some areas, according to the US National Weather Service. “It will be very chilly as we ring in the new year tonight,” the NWS office in Boulder tweeted early Friday, adding: “Snow will be falling across the majority of the area at midnight.” At least 33,000 people in the towns of Superior and Louisville were forced to find shelter on Thursday, officials said, as flames tore through areas desiccated by a historic drought. Authorities estimated that close to 600 homes had been lost. “It is complete devastation … We witnessed houses just exploding right before our eyes,” Superior mayor Clint Folsom told CNN on Friday. But the arrival of cooler weather and at least temporarily lighter winds had slowed the most destructive wildfire early Friday, allowing local authorities to lift evacuation orders outside of Boulder County, the Denver Post reported. Smoke was still rising from several parts of Superior early Friday, after wind gusts ignited fires in several discrete spots, sometimes leaving blackened homes next to intact residences still decorated with Christmas lights.