Cheyenne residents dig out from bomb cyclone blizzard
Brittney and Bryson Purvis dig out from the blizzard that hit southeastern Wyoming March 13. (Credit: Mike McCrimmon)

Storm brings second day of shutdown for Cheyenne

By Cowboy State Daily (Last updated March 14 at 5:50PM)

Traffic began to move again in southeastern Wyoming on Thursday as a major winter storm that swept through the area Wednesday moved out of the region.

After dumping 14 inches of snow in Cheyenne and forcing the closure of schools, government offices and businesses for one to two days, the winds measured at up to 65 mph abated, leaving residents to dig out.

“There is significant digging out to be done with snow drifts much taller than I am,” said Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr. “The best advice I can offer is to stay off the roads and let the city crews continue to clear some pathways.”

Schools, city and county offices and state offices remained closed Thursday as windy conditions continued in the morning, causing snow to drift and reducing visibility.

Also closed for most of Wednesday and Thursday morning were all highways leading in and out of Cheyenne. But by Thursday afternoon, Interstate 25 was open north of Cheyenne. Interstate 80 remained closed east and west of Cheyenne and the state Department of Transportation had no estimate as to when it might open.

The blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service for eastern and southern Wyoming was due to expire by 6 p.m. and conditions were expected to improve into the weekend, with high temperatures expected to reach the 40s.

The storm was one of the strongest seen in more than a decade, coupling heavy snow with winds gusting to 65 mph.

The storm extended from Denver to the Dakotas, making it the largest seen in almost 40 years.

“I’ve been told that we have not seen a storm of this nature since the Thanksgiving blizzard of 1979 and the 2003 storm,” Gov. Mark Gordon said in a news release. “Reportedly, it has the same intensity as a Category 1 hurricane.”

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