- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

CHEYENNE, WYO. (AP) - Schools were closed and driving conditions were hazardous Monday as a storm battered most of Wyoming with heavy snow and strong wind.

Snow was falling at a rate of 2 inches an hour, and accumulations of up to 20 inches were possible in some areas, the National Weather Service said. Casper had received about 6 inches by late morning.

Marcia Shanks said her family in Gillette, in hard-hit northeast Wyoming, had heeded forecasts and stocked up on groceries.

“We are well prepared for a day or two of blizzard conditions,” Shanks said in a telephone interview.

The weather service posted a blizzard warning for eastern Wyoming and western sections of South Dakota and Nebraska, with a winter storm warning for much of central Wyoming and mountain sections of Colorado.

A 100-mile section of Interstate 90 between Sheridan and Gillette was shut down and people were advised against unnecessary travel for a large part of northeast and central Wyoming. Parts of I-80 in southeast Wyoming and I-25 in central Wyoming also were closed, and road conditions elsewhere were worsening.

Classes were called off for schools in Campbell County in northeast Wyoming, and schools that had opened elsewhere closing early.

Intense spring snowstorms are common in Wyoming, said weather service meteorologist Andy Church.

“It looks pretty average in terms of how we measure intensity,” he said of Monday’s storm.

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