By Cowboy State Daily
Traffic was running smoothly across Wyoming on Monday as a storm front that rocked the state over the weekend with hurricane-force winds abated.
Wyoming Department of Transportation road condition reports showed highway traffic moving well, a sharp contrast to a weekend that saw hundred of vehicles stopped behind highway gates because of high winds and drifting and blowing snow.
The impacts were the greatest in southern Wyoming, where sections of Interstate 80 remained closed throughout most of the weekend. The Wyoming Highway Patrol said it received reports of 91 accidents on the highway between Rawlins and the Utah State line between Thursday and Friday alone.
However, the storm’s impacts were also felt in northeastern and central Wyoming, where winds of up to 70 mph battered travelers and generated blowing and drifting snow and icy road conditions.
Sections of Interstate 25 were closed by the weather and although some sections remained open, travel was treacherous, according to witnesses.
“The road was a sheet of ice, and our bus driver — who was fantastic — was having a really hard time keeping the bus on the road,” said Kennedy Corr, assistant coach for the Cody Drama Club, said of the trip from Cheyenne to Cody on Saturday. “The wind was blowing so hard that it was literally moving the bus on the ice.”
Corr and the club members were in Cheyenne for the state Thespian Festival, which ended Saturday. When preparing to leave, the team found that many of the highways in and out of Cheyenne were closed.
“You could go south and you could go east, but you couldn’t go north or west. And we waited to see if it would melt at all – it didn’t,” she said. “It actually got worse, because then the interstate closed from Orin Junction (near Douglas) to Casper.”
The road conditions forced the group to travel north toward Lusk on Wyoming Highway 85 and it ultimately got to the interstate through Guernsey.
Further north, near Gillette, the weather forced the closure of Wyoming Highway 50 south of Gillette, where a snowplow became stuck in steep drifts.
However, warmer temperatures cleared most of the state’s roads by Monday afternoon and conditions were expected to remain mild until Tuesday, when some snow and winds were forecast for western and central Wyoming.
Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Beck did not return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.