winter storm leads to closures

Schools and government offices across southeastern Wyoming closed on Wednesday in the face of a strong winter storm expected to bring up to 20 inches of snow and high winds to the region.

A blizzard warning was in effect from Cheyenne east to Saratoga and north to Douglas until Thursday evening, with the National Weather Service predicting snowfall of up to 10 to 22 inches of snow at lower elevations and up to 3 feet of snow above 8,500 feet.

Coupled with forecasts for winds of hip to 65 mph, the weather service said they storm would create blizzard conditions throughout the region.

The storm had already forced the closure of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Rawlins by Wednesday morning and on Interstate 25 between Casper and Buffalo. “No unnecessary travel” orders were also in place for Interstate 25 from Casper to Glenrock and on many state highways  around Casper and Lusk.

Closures of Cheyenne schools and non-essential government offices were announced Tuesday as officials watched the approach of the storm.

“District officials typically do not cancel school based on a weather forecast,” the district said in a news release. “However, in this situation, anticipated storm impacts including heavy snow and sustained wind gusts will take place at the time when school would release. Our primary concern is the safety of our students, parents and staff.”

Also closed in Cheyenne were state offices and the Cheyenne Regional Airport.

Other closures included schools in Laramie, Casper and Torrington, as well as city offices in Torrington.

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