Wintry weather presents obstacles
PLATTE COUNTY – Despite the beautiful sight of falling snow from within one’s home, the snow, wind and icy conditions led to the cancellation and postponement of several meetings and events throughout the county. The snow and ice also contributed to several accidents on local highways and the interstate.
Snow and wind led to near zero visibility along the roadways outside of Wheatland. Vehicle after vehicle was seen in the ditch with their hazards flashing.
According to Platte County Undersheriff Ward McConahay, the sheriff’s office responded to six accidents between Wednesday and Sunday, with the majority of those six accidents taking place on Wednesday and Thursday before road closures began to take effect.
Police Chief Doug Willadsen said the Wheatland Police Department had responded to two accidents during the same five-day period.
Lieutenant Andrew Frye with Troop F of the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) said WHP had responded to 68 calls for service between Friday and Sunday in Platte and Goshen counties. Frye said these calls ranged from vehicles which had slid off in the ditch to collisions involving other vehicles. Fortunately, Frye noted there were no fatalities resulting from the collisions this weekend.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Cheyenne, wind chills dipped below -20 degrees Fahrenheit and -30 degrees Fahrenheit in the Laramie Mountains.
The NWS Climate Prediction Center (CPC) attributed much of the cold and snowy weather to below-average sea surface temperatures coupled with sustaining winds over the Pacific Ocean. The La Niña atmospheric system continues but is expected to decline between February and April.
Looking ahead to this week, temperatures are expected to begin climbing by Tuesday and will increase to around the mid-40s by Friday.
On Monday morning, the NWS in Cheyenne said the area could expect another 30 hours of arctic cold to endure. Following the arctic cold, Meteorologist Chris Hammer said the area could expect a warming trend throughout the week.
“We will get another day of this cold and there will be a general warming trend through the week,” Hammer said. “By Friday, we could be back up into the mid-40s.”
The NWS in Cheyenne received two snowfall total reports from Friday through Monday. The first report came from eight miles southwest of Wheatland and totaled 11.2 inches. The second report came from Guernsey and totaled five inches.