A heavy snowstorm intensified in the central Rocky Mountains on Sunday. Heavy snowfall and wind resulted in airport and road closures, power outages and avalanche warnings in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.
The Wyoming National Weather Service called the blizzard a “historic and devastating” winter storm that created extremely dangerous or impossible travel conditions, at least earlier this week.
Major roads southeast of the line that crosses diagonally from Wyoming’s southwest corner to its northeast corner are completely blocked, including roads in Cheyenne and Casper.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation suspended land plowing in the Casper area Sunday because of heavy snowfall and lack of visibility. “We’ve had several plows run off into the roads due to limited visibility,” the agency said in a statement.
Farther south, a record amount of snow – more than 61 centimeters – fell near Cheyenne by noon Sunday, the weather service said. Windy Peak in the Laramie Range received 1.3 feet of snow in 24 hours. Ninety-eight trucks were stranded on one highway – drivers had to dump fuel to keep warm and keep the refrigeration units in the bodies running.
In Denver, Cheyenne and other cities in the area affected by the snowfall, school classes were canceled Monday and most structures and institutions were out of operation. Almost all flights at Denver International Airport have been canceled. The Northern Colorado Regional Airport, which serves the Fort Collins and Loveland areas, was also closed Sunday.
In the Rocky Mountains west of Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs, a major avalanche warning is in effect.