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Don Day: “This Ain’t The Last Snowstorm This Season In Wyoming”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A snowstorm and cold front expected to hit southeastern Wyoming this weekend probably will not be the final blast of wintry weather for the season, according to Cowboy State Daily Meteorologist Don Day.

Day said Memorial Day weekend would have to come and go before Wyoming residents would be out of the woods when it comes to wintry weather, at least until the fall.

“If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have said we were probably done with the hard freezes, but there’s another cold front coming in eight or nine days from now too,” Day said. “We’re near the end, but I’m not calling it done after this weekend.”

Thankfully, the snow won’t be too terrible this weekend, although Laramie and Rawlins will likely be hit the hardest by the storm, Day said.

Saratoga, Rawlins and Laramie will likely see “several” inches of snow over the next 36 hours, which will make travel on Interstate 80 difficult given slushy and icy conditions mixed with poor visibility. The mountainous areas in southeastern Wyoming will see anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow in the next few days Day said.

Day noted that Cheyenne is on a “precipice” of the snowstorm, meaning that if the storm shifts either north or south just a bit, there will be a difference in what the city sees in terms of snow.

However, Day did say the city likely will not be affected by snow as to cities like Laramie and Saratoga. Worst-case scenarios called for Cheyenne to receive 3 to 4 inches of snow.

“It’ll be a nice, wet storm in terms of bringing us water,” Day said.

There will be freezing temperatures on Thursday night through Friday, so Day warned anyone who might have gotten excited and planted tomatoes or flowers recently to get them covered to avoid death by frost.

“I’m going to have to go into witness protection after all of this,” Day joked.

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Don Day: Parts of Wyoming Will Have White Christmas; Other Areas Will Be Dusty and Brown

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The western portion of the state will probably have a white Christmas to some extent this year, Wyoming weatherman Don Day told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

“First we have to define what a ‘white Christmas’ means,” Day said. “Does it mean there will be snow on the ground on Christmas day or does it mean it will be snowing on Christmas?”

For some parts of Wyoming, the answer will likely be both. From Wednesday night through Saturday morning, the area from Evanston to Rawlins will likely receive 2 to 6 inches of snow and the Jackson area will get anywhere from 9 to 13 inches.

“It’s going to snow for many days in a row in Jackson,” Day said. “But they’re kind of used to that, up in the mountains.”

The Interstate 80 corridor of southwestern Wyoming is probably the best area to see falling snow this Christmas Eve and day, Day said.

The rest of the state will probably not have the stereotypical white Christmas, seeing little or no snow on Christmas Eve or day this year. Day said there is a 50-50 chance the northeast portion of the state, such as Sheridan and Gillette, will see measurable snow. The chances are the same for the Douglas and Casper areas, Day said.

Laramie will likely see some snow this weekend, and the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Snowy and Sierra Madre regions. The expected snowfall in the area could be anywhere from 5 to 8 inches.

Cheyenne, on the other hand, probably won’t have any snow on Christmas. Day noted that this isn’t uncommon, as a study he conducted on snowfall in Cheyenne revealed there was only about a 24% chance it would snow on Christmas in any given year.

“The statistical opportunity for it to snow on Halloween in Cheyenne is actually higher than it snowing on Christmas,” he said.

For anyone who is hoping for a white Christmas in any part of Wyoming, Day joked that he was trying his best to make it happen.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a white Christmas because I’m a purist,” he said. “I’m putting in those extra hours to make sure it snows on Christmas, but stays off the roads.”

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Don Day: Spring Is On Spring Break This Week

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State

Many Wyoming residents woke up Wednesday to discover, to either their delight or horror, that snow had fallen overnight.

Thankfully, it wasn’t nearly as bad the blizzard that blanketed much of the state last month, with only a few inches falling across the state over the last 24 hours.

Wyoming weatherman Don Day confirmed this in his Wednesday morning forecast, saying there were really no good days ahead.

“Spring is on spring breaks, folks,” he said. “This is a long stretch of cold and occasionally damp weather. We’re going to have off and on snow, rain, fog through this region through Friday.”

According to the National Weather Service, the most snowfall was seen in the southern portion of the state, with around 3-4 inches having fallen.

However, much of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to Rock Springs was closed due to the weather conditions, but was expected to open sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Some other local highways, especially in the Laramie and Rawlins area, were closed due to the winter weather conditions.

However, the cold temperatures and snow weren’t only expected for Wednesday.

According to the NWS in Cheyenne, winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings were in effect for much of the area through Friday morning.

Snow would continue to impact the region in multiple waves throughout the next 48 hours, with the worst conditions happening through the nighttime and early morning hours.

Anywhere from three to 10 inches of snow are expected to fall in the lower elevations, with the Snowy Range expected to see 1-2 feet in snow.

In the Arlington and Elk Mountain areas, near blizzard conditions are possible.

“Bottom line: If you have travel plans across the region from now through the remainder of the work week, expect minor to moderate travel impacts due to icy, snow packed roads and low visibilities,” the NWS said. “The most severe conditions will be found along I-80 near Arlington and the Summit area between Laramie and Cheyenne.”

Day added there will be a “modest” break over the weekend from the cold weather before it returns again Monday.

“This cold front, I think, is going to be worse than what we’re experiencing this week,” Day said. “I’ve got no good news for you right now.”

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Cheyenne Firefighters Deliver Baby Boy During Blizzard

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Some Cheyenne firefighters took on a new job temporarily this week when they helped deliver a baby boy during the historic snowstorm that blanketed much of southeast Wyoming.

“As access into the call was hampered by deep snow, part of the crew from Ladder 1 rendered care to mom, and delivery and care to baby, while the other members dug access for the ambulance,” Cheyenne Fire Rescue officials said in a news release.

It wasn’t clear when the baby was born, since the blizzard began on Saturday, but it sounded as if the mother and baby were doing just fine.

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Kathy Baker could not share information about the family due to privacy and health reasons.

Cheyenne Fire Rescue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is just one example of how Cheyenne residents were put to the test earlier this week due to the blizzard.

The city itself on Monday put out a request for citizen help with plowing the roads, since the city was hit with almost 31 inches of snow over a two-day period.

Gov. Mark Gordon declared a state of emergency on Wednesday due to the blizzard, allowing the director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security to mobilize state and federal personnel and resources to help get the state back up and running after the storm that dropped more than 30 inches of snow on some areas.

It also directs the Adjutant General, in consultation with WOHS and Gordon, to deploy, if needed, the Wyoming National Guard to areas of the state that have been identified for emergency assistance.

The record-setting snowstorm forced the closure of Interstates 25 and 80 through Tuesday, caused power outages and led to the closure of city, county and state offices and school districts in southeastern Wyoming for multiple days.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins urged patience from residents who were ready to leave their homes after being trapped for days.

“I know that a lot are restless today,” Collins said via videoconference. “We’ve been stuck for three days now and we all want to get out. But our police department would ask you not to get out in your cars and become part of the problem.”

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Gordon Declares State of Emergency Due to Historic Blizzard

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Three days after a major snowstorm hit southeast Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.

The emergency declaration allows the director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security to mobilize state and federal personnel and resources and to help get the state back up and running after the storm that dropped more than 30 inches of snow on some areas.

It also directs the Adjutant General, in consultation with WOHS and Gordon, to deploy, if needed, the Wyoming National Guard to areas of the state that have been identified for emergency assistance.

No Guard members had been activated as of Wednesday morning.

“The scale and intensity of this storm have caused severe impacts to our transportation infrastructure and agriculture producers,” Gordon said. “As the scope of the situation unfolds and with the possibility of flooding as temperatures warm, it’s imperative we make all our resources available to respond to the needs in our communities.”

The snowstorm over the weekend delivered more than 30 inches of wet, heavy snow to southeast Wyoming, closing Interstates 25 and 80, causing power outages and leading to the closure of city, county and state offices and school districts for multiple days.

The impacts of the storm prompted several counties to ask Gordon for the emergency declaration, he said.

While Interstate 25 opened Wednesday morning, Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie remained closed, as did state and city offices in Cheyenne. Many secondary roads in southeastern Wyoming remained closed Wednesday.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins urged patience from residents who were ready to leave their homes after being trapped for days.

“I know that a lot are restless today,” Collins said via videoconference. “We’ve been stuck for three days now and we all want to get out. But our police department would ask you not to get out in your cars and become part of the problem.”

Collins said Interim Fire Chief John Kopper compared the community to a zombie apocalypse, with people walking to supermarkets in the middle of the street because there’s no other place to walk.

“Please be patient,” Collins said. “We’re doing our best and we’re gonna get there, I promise. We’re using everything and every available asset that we have to get the streets cleared, and try to get the city back to normal.”

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Southeast Wyoming Shuts Down For Another Day, Warmer Temps Predicted

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s southeastern corner remained cut off from the rest of the world Tuesday as the state continued its efforts to dig out from Sunday’s record-breaking snowstorm.

Although portions of central and western Wyoming began to see traffic move again on the state’s highways, roads in and out of Cheyenne remained blocked by the heavy snow dropped by the blizzard.

The storm forced the closure of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne west to Rock Springs and Interstate 25 from Cheyenne north to Buffalo on Sunday, but by Tuesday, roads north of Casper and west of Rawlins had reopened.

Interstate 25 between Cheyenne and Casper was expected to open Tuesday, but I80 west of Cheyenne was not expected to reopen until Wednesday.

Government offices and schools remained closed in Cheyenne on Tuesday and the Legislature, which rarely stops its work because of weather conditions, suspended proceedings for a second day as the city continued its efforts to clear the roads around the community.

The weekend blizzard left 31 inches of snow on Cheyenne, breaking a 42-year-old record, and the Cheyenne Police Department, on its Facebook page, predicted it could take city snowplow crews several days to finish clearing snow from the community’s roads.

Schools and offices were also closed in Goshen and Natrona counties, along with Wheatland.

Pine Bluffs, where 20 inches of snow fell during the weekend, had students attend school in virtual classrooms.

Weather conditions were expected to remain cool and unsettled until warming up on Thursday, according to meteorologist Don Day of DayWeather.

Day, in his daily podcast, said the state could expect some significant snow melting by Saturday.

“Between Thursday and Saturday we’re going to have a nice warm up, the snow will be melting, the sun will be out,” he said. “Unfortunately, don’t get used to it.”

Day said another storm front moving into the region from the Pacific could bring more rain and snow to the area.

“We may have a developing system on the plains Sunday night into Monday that will produce some rain and snow east of the (Continental) Divide in some areas,” he said. “Then there is another storm system possibly to contend with by the middle of next week.”

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Snow So Deep In Cheyenne, Emergency Management Asks Citizens For Snowmobiles

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The snow in Cheyenne was so deep following Sunday’s record-breaking storm that the Cheyenne-Laramie County Emergency Management Department put out a call for civilian help.

According to a social media post, the department was in need of people who own snowmobiles and/or tracked vehicles, ones that have rubber/other material tracks which make it easier to travel on snow, to help with shift changes at emergency response agencies.

Our Public Safety crews throughout the City and County need assistance getting a shift change done.” the post said. “Our Law Enforcement, Fire Department personnel, EMS Crews, and 911 Dispatchers have been working countless hours responding to every call they can and need a shift change.”

While Cheyenne’s public safety crews were helping with the shift changes, the civilian vehicles would be of incredible assistance, and could also be used for 911 responses, the post said.

Anyone in the Cheyenne or Laramie County area with this type of vehicle was encouraged to contact the department at 307-775-7360.

Cheyenne, like much of Wyoming, was pummeled with snow over the weekend, receiving 30.8 inches as of Monday morning. The National Weather Service said Sunday Cheyenne broke a two-day snowfall record this weekend.

The heavy snow prompted closures for all state government offices in Cheyenne on Monday, the University of Wyoming, all schools in Laramie and Natrona counties, as well as city offices in both locations.

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Gordon Closes State Offices Again on Tuesday; City Continues To Dig-Out From Blizzard

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon on Monday praised Wyoming’s response to the major snowstorm that left much of the state’s shut down.

Gordon said state offices in Cheyenne would again be closed on Tuesday due to record-breaking snowfall in Cheyenne, nearly 31 inches.

“I want to thank our first responders, public safety employees and hospital workers, as well as the plow drivers who have been working long stretches without relief during this storm,” Gordon said. “Throughout the state we’ve heard numerous stories of neighbors helping neighbors. I couldn’t be more proud of how our Wyoming people have responded to this storm.”

The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Highway Patrol have each had their hands full with helping clear roads and save stranded motorists since the storm that hit the state Saturday and Sunday.

In Cheyenne, the snow was so deep that the Cheyenne-Laramie County Emergency Management Department even had to call in for citizen help, something else Gordon praised.

“In Laramie County, we’ve seen an army of snowmobile volunteers step up to shuttle doctors and nurses to the hospital and public safety workers to their jobs,” he said.

Additionally, the governor asked people to continue staying off the roads and avoid non-essential travel, due to several feet of wet, heavy snow impacting the interstates and local roads across much of the southeastern portion of the state.

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Casper Area At Risk For Flooding Following Record-Breaking Snow

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Casper area is at risk for potential flooding due to the high amount of snow that blanketed central Wyoming over the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service in Riverton, Casper has seen 26.3 inches of snow since Saturday. This amounts to around 2.14 inches of water from the snow.

With temperatures expected to be in the upper 30s to mid-40s this week in the Casper area, there is a possibility of low-elevation snowmelt flooding.

“If you live in a low-lying area that is prone to flooding or standing water, take extra precautions,” the NWS wrote on its Facebook page late Sunday.

The ground in many areas is still frozen, which can cause low-lying areas to fill with water quickly.

According to the United States Geological Survey, rapid snowmelt can also trigger landslides and debris flows. In combination with specific weather conditions, such as excessive rainfall on melting snow, it may even be a major cause of floods.

Last week, the NWS also warned of a possibility of ice jam flooding coming as a result of rising temperatures.

An ice jam develops when pieces of floating ice accumulate to obstruct the river flow. The water that’s held back behind the temporary dam could potentially cause flooding or flash flooding upstream.

Ice jams in Wyoming are most common from mid-February through early April and are seen in most rivers, but especially in the Green, Wind and Big Horn River Basins.

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Southeastern Wyoming Schools, Offices Closed After Historic Storm

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Roads, government offices and schools remained closed across southeastern Wyoming on Monday as the state recovered from a record-breaking winter storm that forced even snowplows off of the highways.

As of Monday morning, highways remained closed from the Nebraska border west to Rawlins and the Colorado border north to Buffalo.

During the peak of the storm on Sunday, the Wyoming Transportation Department suspended plowing operations on Interstate 80 as the snow and brisk winds pushed snow back onto freshly plowed roads.

With many roads remaining impassable Monday morning, government offices and schools closed from Cheyenne and Laramie to Casper. In Laramie, the University of Wyoming was also closed.

Even Wyoming’s Legislature, which rarely closes because of the weather, suspended operations on Monday.

“With weather conditions unsafe for travel, all state of Wyoming facilities in Laramie County will be closed on Monday, March 15, state offices will be closed and the Wyoming Legislature will not meet,” Gov. Mark Gordon said in a Facebook posting. “With most roads impassable, we continue to recommend no unnecessary travel in the portions of the state impacted by this historic storm. Stay safe Wyoming!”

The blizzard began dropping snow on the southeastern half of the state Saturday night and continued through most of Sunday.

Snow accumulations from the storm ranged from 9 inches in Rawlins to 20 inches in Pine Bluffs, 26 inches in Casper, 28 inches in Wheatland and 30.8 inches in Cheyenne, a record for a two-day snowfall.

At the height of the storm, Interstate 80 was closed from Cheyenne west to Rock Springs, but crews were able to open the stretch between Rawlins and Rock Springs by Monday morning. The Transportation Department predicted much of the rest of I80 and I25 would be open by Monday night.

Conditions across the state were expected to improve slowly over the week, according to meteorologist Don Day of DayWeather.

Day said an approaching front would keep Wyoming’s weather cool and unsettled until the middle of the week, when a warm front will move into the state.

“If you want to know when the big melt is, the big melt starts Thursday and Friday and into early Saturday, as southwest winds will bring much warmer air in and that’s going to be able to start to melt the snow,” he said. “It’s really not until the end of the week before we see any significant warm up or any significant melting.”

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Snow, High Winds Hit Portions Of Wyoming On Monday Night

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Cold temperatures, wind and light snow hit northwestern and southeastern Wyoming this week as more normal November weather returned to the region.

According to the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, most of the week will be cold and feature at least a little bit of snow, at least in the southeast portion of the state.

The NWS reported that around one inch of snow fell in the area from Pine Bluffs to Rawlins, as well as in portions west of Riverton, Lander and the Yellowstone National Park area.

“Unsettled weather as we are in a progressive, fast moving west to east wind pattern,” the NWS said in a report Tuesday morning.

Tuesday would see “very windy” conditions, with wind-prone areas likely seeing gusts up to 70 or 75 mph, the Weather Service said. Gusts of up to 65 MPH were likely on the downslope of the Laramie and Snowy ranges, including cities like Cheyenne, Laramie and Wheatland.

Wyoming weatherman Don Day confirmed this in his Tuesday morning forecast.

“A more typical November pattern is finally settling into the western United States,” Day said.

Northwestern Wyoming will also be hit with snow over this week, but temperatures will begin rise over the weekend and into early next week.

Any truckers with light loads or people towing camper trailers will have difficulty driving across southeast Wyoming on Tuesday.

There will be another chance of strong winds later in the week.

Thursday will likely be the driest day in terms of snow and precipitation.

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Don Day: Winter Weather Coming This Weekend To Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Enjoy these last couple days of fairly warm weather, because winter is moving in this weekend.

Wyoming meteorologist Don Day said in his Tuesday forecast that a cold front is moving into the state later this week (Thursday and Friday) and a storm system will form over the weekend.

The northern part of the state will likely see snow later in the week, while the southern portion of the state will probably see snow move in by Sunday.

“Hunters beware,” Day said in his forecast. “Also, if you’ve got plans on traveling in the region this weekend, especially Saturday night or Sunday morning…a lot of the northern and central Rockies will have the first widespread snow that will literally make roads and highways slick.”

The meteorologist added that people hunting in the mountains this weekend will likely see a “good amount” of snow over the weekend, which is something they should be cautious of.

Probably the most ominous part of his forecast, however, had to do with the really cold temperatures that are coming up.

How cold? According to some models, sub-zero temperatures are on the way.

“These are not celsius temperatures,” Day said. “These are fahrenheit temperatures by sunrise Monday. Anywhere you see grey is a sub-zero temperature — surrounded by single-digit teens.”

Day said this was just a model so it’s not the “gospel truth” but this is “the real deal” he cautioned.

Day explained that the jet stream (fast-flowing yet meandering air currents in the atmosphere) has been building up a ridge in the gulf of Alaska, which is “setting the stage” for the winter weather coming in this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for some southeastern portions of the state until midday Tuesday, with predictions that gusts will increase again overnight.

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Snow Possible In Wyoming This Weekend. Because It’s 2020

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State

As the 10 biblical plagues continue to curse Wyoming and the rest of the world, a portion of the state will see another favorite friend: snow.

The National Weather Service in Riverton has issued a hazardous weather outlook for a major chunk of the state, from Yellowstone National Park to Rock Springs, which called for possible snowfall Sunday night.

A strong cold front is expected to bring cooler air to the region, turning the potential rain into snow in the northern mountains Sunday night into Monday morning.

This will result in some “light” snowfall accumulations, as if 2020 hadn’t already been inconvenient enough.

The other hazards the NWS office warned about were critical fire conditions and thunderstorms this weekend.

To be fair, hail was actually one of the 10 plagues, not snow, so we should be fine. Right?

But we have already dealt with bugs, blood and wild animals.

Just sayin’.

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In Brief: Wyoming braces for another blast of winter-like weather

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By Cowboy State Daily

UPDATE (1:30 PM): The US National Weather Service Cheyenne Wyoming has just issued a blizzard warning, in effect from noon Wednesday to 3 PM Thursday, for large parts of southeast Wyoming:

“Blizzard conditions are expected with total snow accumulations of 6 to 13 inches and winds gusting as high as 55 mph,” according to the NWS warning. “Travel could be very difficult. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Roads will be slick. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”

Wyoming Department of Transportation public information officer Jeff Goetz tweeted the following guidance for Wyoming travelers in eastern Wyoming:

WDOT information officer Jeff Goetz: In NWS briefing - tomorrow isn't going to be good. Starting at midnight look for freezing rain.  9 a.m. on wind and snow picks up throughout the day Casper and areas east and south into Neb. May see up to 18 inches Torrington area. All east of I-25 hardest hit. #wyoroad

Will continue to update this story as we get new information. Stay tuned for the latest.

Wyoming braced for another shot of winter-like weather as a storm warning went into effect for most of the eastern third of the state in anticipation of a weather system expected to hit by Wednesday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for an area from Cheyenne and Laramie north to Gillette and Sheridan, along with a winter storm watch for most of the rest of the state, in advance of the storm expected to bring up to 5 inches of snow to southern Wyoming and 12 inches to the area around Lusk.

While the storm was not expected to be as severe as the blizzard that shut down much of eastern Wyoming in mid-March, it was predicted to bring heavy, wet snow to the area.

“It’s not quite as strong as the storm on March 13, but it will still pack quite a punch,” said Meteorologist Steve Rubin. “There will be less snow, but it should be more of a wet snow.”

Forecasts called for snow to begin falling in eastern Wyoming by midday Wednesday and continue through Thursday.

Accumulations were predicted to range from 3 to 5 inches in Cheyenne and 5 to 11 inches in Douglas and Gillette to up to 12 inches in Lusk.

Snow was expected to fall across most of the rest of the state by Wednesday, but heavy snowfall was predicted only in the mountains outside of eastern Wyoming.

After the storm, the National Weather Service said conditions would improve, with temperatures rising to the 50s by Sunday.

“It’s going to take a few days to warm up,” Rubin said. “It will be a slow warming trend, but it should melt off some of the snow.”

Don’t put away your snow shovels just yet…

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In Wyoming, we get our biggest snow storms in the March, April, and May.

We get you up to speed on what to expect from spring weather with Don Day.

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