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More than 12,000 without power following heavy snows in Wyoming
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More than 12,000 without power following heavy snows in Wyoming

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snow

Snow covers Casper following a storm that began Monday night and continued into Tuesday. It caused power outages and road closures throughout the state.

A heavy, wet snow fell over large parts of Wyoming on Tuesday as an unseasonably cold storm slammed the state.

Road closures and power outages were reported around the state. Here is the latest:

Highway closures

Blowing snow, icy roads and limited visibility have led to highway closures around the state. Here are the latest:

  • Interstate 80 is closed between Cheyenne and Rawlins and between Rock Springs and Evanston;
  • U.S. Highway 20/26 is closed west of Casper to Moneta;
  • State Highway 220 between Casper and Muddy Gap;
  • Outer Drive in Casper;
  • U.S. Highway 30 between Cheyenne and Rawlins;
  • U.S. Highway 287 between Laramie and Muddy Gap;
  • Wyoming Highway 28 between Farson and South Pass City;
  • U.S. Highway 191 between Rock Springs and Farson.

Interstate 25 remains open, though icy conditions have been reported.

Casper schools are open today, but bus service is running about 20 minutes behind.

Traffic accidents

No traffic-related injuries from the storm had been reported as of 9:20 a.m., according to the Casper Police Department. Spokesperson Rebekah Ladd said there had been four accidents causing property damage, and those all occurred between 7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. No accidents were reported overnight. 

Power outages

Heavy snow can often damage trees and power lines.

A residential trailer in Mills was completely lost in an overnight fire, Fire Chief Dave North told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday. He said the fire was a "direct result" of a branch falling onto a power line. The fire did not result in any injuries, but North said it did displace the trailers' residents.

snow

Snow collects on leaves Tuesday after an early season snow storm swept through Casper. Temperatures nearly reached 100 degrees less than two days earlier.

Casper Fire-EMS said firefighters had been responding to a number of calls related to downed power lines in Casper. Capt. Pat McJunkin, speaking for the department, said calls about outages or branches on power lines began coming in around 10:30 p.m. Monday. As of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the department had responded to 22 such calls within city limits. 

McJunkin said there had not been any "significant hazards" within the city, though there were a handful of very small fires caused by branches on power lines. Those fires extinguished themselves, he said. 

As of 12:30 p.m., Rocky Mountain Power was reporting 347 outages in Wyoming affecting 12,654 customers.

The outages include: 

  • 1,685 customers in Casper;
  • 6,568 in the Rock Springs/Green River area;
  • 1,340 in Evanston
  • 453 in Glenrock;
  • 317 in Douglas;
  • 395 in Lander;
  • 679 in Thermopolis;
  • 511 in Guernsey.

Authorities say people should assume all downed lines are energized and dangerous.

Rocky Mountain Power in a statement advised customers to be prepared for prolonged outages with food, water and back-up batteries. The utility was grappling with large outages in three Mountain West states: Wyoming, Idaho and Utah due to high winds.

"We make sure we are well-prepared with crews and equipment for severe weather events," said Curtis Mansfield, Rocky Mountain Power's vice president of operations. "This storm is impacting thousands of customers across our six-state territory and we appreciate our customers' patience as we work to get everyone restored."

Snow and wind

Between 4 and 8 inches of snow were forecast to fall over Casper with higher amounts on Casper Mountain. Gusty winds reaching as high as 26 mph were also expected.

The storm began moving into Wyoming on Monday afternoon, starting with cooler temperature and rain. By Monday evening, snow was falling over parts of the state. 

This story will be updated throughout the day. Got a tip? Send it to editors@trib.com

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