Record-Breaking Snowstorm Blankets Wyoming, Colorado In Blizzard Conditions

By Matthew S. Schwartz NPR

Parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska are digging out from under over a foot of snow, in what the National Weather Service has called a “historic and crippling” blizzard. And the storm is likely to continue, as the central part of the country is poised to see blizzard conditions before snow moves into the Midwest.

With at least 25.8 inches of snow in Cheyenne, Wyo., it’s broken the record for the heaviest 2-day snow storm there. According to NWS Cheyenne, the previous 2-day total record was 25.2 inches, set in November 1979. The storm has blanketed southeast Wyoming, northern Colorado and western Nebraska.

Throughout Wyoming, wind gusts up to 55 mph have helped cover the state with heavy and blowing snow. According to the NWS, travel in Wyoming and the western Nebraska Panhandle will remain “extremely dangerous or impossible,” including in the I-80 corridor between Cheyenne and Rawlins.

Strong winds could cause extensive damage to trees and power lines. “Conditions will be life threatening to those caught unprepared,” the NWS said. “Travel should be restricted to emergencies only” — and anyone who must travel should also carry a winter survival kit, and stay with the vehicle if stranded.

In Colorado, some areas saw 1-2 feet of snow in this weekend’s storm, one of the biggest of the season. Some areas of the state saw more than 30 inches. Numerous roads are closed, and travel is “highly discouraged,” NWS said. At Denver International Airport, more than 2,000 flights were canceled over the weekend, Reuters reports.

The danger is not over yet. “We are in the middle of a major snowstorm in many parts of Colorado,” Gov. Jared Polis tweeted Sunday evening. “Stay home and stay safe while conditions remain poor.” On Saturday, Polis authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist with search and rescue requests through the weekend.

The storm system has also brought heavy snow and blizzard conditions throughout the central Rockies and the High Plains. The snowstorm was expected to head in a northeast direction late Sunday, where it’s forecast to drop heavy snowfall in eastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota, and northern Iowa.

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