The potentially record-breaking snow storm hitting southeastern Wyoming is causing major impacts to travel and infrastructure. I-80 is closed between Laramie and Cheyenne, and Eastbound lanes of that interstate are closed between Laramie and Rock Springs. Several smaller highways in southern Wyoming have also closed due to winter conditions.
The city of Cheyenne is instructing non-essential city and county employees from western Laramie County to return home as soon as possible. Jeanine West with the county's Emergency Management Agency said residents of southeast Wyoming should only travel if necessary.
"This evening, with the increased snow amounts and the temperatures, we are going to see maybe some icy conditions and the snow possibly building up more. Just be safe. If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out," said West.
An accident alert is in effect for Cheyenne. That means the Laramie County Police Department will only respond to accidents involving injuries, drunk drivers, vehicles unable to move, or where someone is unable to exchange information. All other drivers should exchange information and later complete a delayed accident form.
Trees and smaller plants could also be impacted by the heavy, wet snow. Brian Sebade is an extension educator at the University of Wyoming. and said for smaller trees and shrubs people should try to remove the snow that’s accumulating to help keep them healthy. He said snow is actually a good insulator against hard freezes, but that you can cover more sensitive vegetables and flowers with tarp.
As far as minimizing the risk of branches breaking on larger trees, Sebade said it’s ok if you want to try and brush snow off some branches.
"But just for safety concerns [I] try to recommend people are not getting onto roofs, standing on the tops of ladders trying to get snow off this time of year, just because it’s slick conditions with snow and what not. And the damage to yourself if probably greater than what’s going to happen to the trees."
Sebade recommends moving cars from underneath big trees and being aware of what’s overhead when walking.
Heavy snow and winter conditions are expected to continue through Friday.