Snow covers Panhandle, winter storm weather warning remains in effect

Schools across the region began announcing closures and municipalities started declaring snow emergencies on Monday in anticipation for the heavy snowfall expected to occur in the area.

“We are very confident that there will be significant snowfall accumulations and travel impacts,” said Andrew Lyons, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne on Monday, prior to the storm moving into the valley.

As of Monday afternoon, Scottsbluff was forecasted to receive 6-12 inches of snow, with the majority expected to fall overnight and into this morning.

By 10 a.m. Monday, snow had started falling in Laramie as the storm made its way east and cancellations began rolling in.

Eastern Wyoming College announced Monday morning that classes after 3 p.m. on Monday and all day today had been canceled.

By Monday afternoon, Western Nebraska Community College announced closures at campuses in Scottsbluff, Sidney and Alliance and area schools including Bayard, Gering, Minatare, Mitchell and Morrill had called off Tuesday’s classes and activities.

A snow emergency was declared for Scottsbluff, Gering and Terrytown and went into effect at 6 p.m. Monday. It will continue until further notice. Those living along emergency snow routes need to have their vehicles off the streets.

Lyons said that those planning to travel over Thanksgiving may want to reconsider because getting from one place to another may be nearly impossible.

Accumulations of 8-12 inches were predicted along the I-80 corridor. Areas higher in the mountains could see upwards of two feet, said Lyons. As of 4 p.m. on Monday, westbound I-80 was closed from Rocksprings to Rawlins, Wyoming due to weather conditions and crashes.

“This snow is going to come down very fast and it is also going to reduce visibility quite a bit,” said Lyons, adding that, “It’s unlikely that plows are going to be able to keep up with these rates.”

Those who have to travel are encouraged to take precautions. Keep an eye on road conditions and keep emergency supplies, such as a shovel, a charged cell phone and car charger, flashlights, first aid kit, blankets, extra clothing and kitty litter, which helps with traction.

A full tank of gas and extra travel time is also recommended.

Anyone who is traveling and in need of assistance can dial *55 or 800-525-5555 to reach the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

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