Up to 10 inches of snow could hit Casper today, with Casper Mountain seeing as many as 24 inches, according to a winter storm warning issued Tuesday morning by the National Weather Service in Riverton. The warning took effect at midnight and lasts until 6 a.m. Thursday.
“This could be a once-in-a-decade-or-two storm if it materializes the way we think it will,” DayWeather meteorologist Mark Heuer said in a Wyoming Department of Transportation announcement. “This storm is expected to be similar to the Thanksgiving blizzard of 1979 and the storm of March 23, 2003. This storm has the potential to strengthen into a record-strong storm.”
Weather systems from the Pacific Northwest and Colorado are expected to combine in Wyoming, according to the NWS storm watch. Significant snow and wind are expected across central Wyoming, especially from southwest to northeast Wyoming, including areas to the south and east.
Casper is slated to get 5-10 inches of accumulation, with 18-24 inches on the mountain as north winds reach up to 45 mph, according to the NWS. In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, WYDOT said that Casper could expect 4-8 inches, with 8-12 inches as a possibility and winds from 25-40 mph.
WYDOT encouraged drivers to take caution and adjust travel plans in light of expected hazardous travel.
The department announced it will move additional snow-removal equipment to interstates 80, 25 and 90, as well as other primary roads from the northeast to the southeast. WYDOT said it would hire additional private resources if needed.
“Although we are shifting equipment to certain locations, at no time will any part of the state be without snow-removal equipment,” assistant chief engineer of operations Mark Gillett said in the announcement. “... We will also continuously adjust our resources as needed during the storm to ensure the best use of our equipment and manpower.”
Natrona County School District put out an announcement Tuesday morning indicating that it is actively monitoring the storm. The district will communicate via text and phone by approximately 5:30 a.m. Wednesday whether schools will be closed.
The announcement listed several possibilities for the district’s response to inclement weather: full closure, late start or early dismissal — or a combination of those possibilities catered to individual schools.
The NWS warns that blowing snow could affect travel on Interstate 25, creating hazardous conditions. WYDOT is expecting some rain and sleet late Tuesday night in southeast Wyoming. The department said it could bring down 1-3 inches per hour in some locations.
A winter storm watch issued early Tuesday predicted up to 30 inches could hit Casper Mountain. An earlier map from the NWS predicted Casper would get 8-12 inches Wednesday.
There could be some additional snowfall Thursday in parts of the state, according to DayWeather.
The warning took effect at midnight and lasts until 6 a.m. Thursday.