Highway Patrol Reports Scores Of Accidents, One Fatality
Though it's been said many times, many ways, it still bears repeating: If you don't have to drive during the next day, don't.
Since 5 p.m. Monday, Wyoming Highway Patrol dispatch has received 81 calls about crashes, with 72 of those involving property damage, with eight injuries and one fatality, Patrol Lt. Chris Schell said Tuesday.
Dispatch sources did not identify where the crashes occurred, nor where the fatality occurred, nor causes such as black ice or poor visibility, Schell said.
Regardless, the storm is still active, according to the National Weather Service.
Even though the official "winter storm warning" is expected to expire for central Wyoming at midnight, the poor road conditions will remain for a while.
"The lower level of snow is real wet, so with this cold setting in tonight, it will turn to ice underneath," Schell said.
"Some of the later snow will be more crystallized and a lot lighter, so it will be blowing around if the winds kick up like the weatherman's saying," Schell said.
"With gusting winds up to 40 miles per hour, we're going to have poor visibility, slick roads," he said. "And even where the plows have gone through, they're knocking off the top layer, but you're still going to have some packed snow and ice underneath."
Some highway conditions improved Tuesday as road crews made headway plowing. Some highways, especially Interstate 80 and I-25, were reopened even though the Wyoming Department of Transportation still warned of problems such as black ice.
That changed drastically late afternoon.
WYDOT's website reported major closures again, including nearly all of I-25 from Cheyenne to Casper, and nearly all I-80 across the state.
Likewise, U.S. Highway 30 is closed from Rock Springs through Medicine Bow to Cheyenne, as is U.S. Highway 85 from Cheyenne to Torrington.
Closer to Casper, Wyoming Highway 487 is closed from Medicine Bow to the north junction of Wyoming Highway 77. The rest is slick with drifting snow.
In general, WYDOT is advising no unnecessary travel for what it hasn't shut down in the southern half of the state and in the northwest part of the state.
"If you don't need to go, don't go right now," Schell said. "Obviously, if you do have to go somewhere, slow down, give yourself some extra time and distance."