Updated 8 p.m. Thursday
The National Weather Service in Cheyenne extended its blizzard warning area westward Wednesday morning to include all of Albany County. While Laramie is no longer in a blizzard warning, plows both in town and on the interstate are still worked all day to clear the blowing snow.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation closed Interstate 80 to all traffic from Rock Springs to Cheyenne both eastbound and westbound Wednesday. In a Thursday night news release, WYDOT announced all interstate closures had been lifted.
Although the precipitation has stopped in many areas, a WYDOT press release issued this morning said crews were reporting drifts “as large as 10 feet deep along sections of I-80 in the Laramie and Arlington areas.”
The release added high winds today will “hamper visibility due to blowing snow.”
U.S. Highway 287 also remained closed in the Laramie area much of Wednesday and today, with the highway reopening late this afternoon.
City crews are working in shifts to keep trucks out around the clock to clear roads in Laramie as well, Streets Division Manager Shane Johnson said. He added the crews will continue until “it’s not needed anymore,” which has proven to be a “big effort” by city crews.
“Mainly because of the wind that was accompanying the snow, it caused severe drifting everywhere in town, so it’s been a lot tougher to deal with,” Johnson said.
The City Manager’s office announced in a news release Wednesday that city offices, the Municipal Court and the Laramie Community Recreation Center closed at noon and will remain closed today. The city offices and recreation center plan to reopen Friday, and “[Municipal] Court appearances and filing dates will be extended due to the closure,” the release said.
“Essential operations, including Police, Fire and Streets will continue to operate throughout the closure,” the release said.
Interim Public Works Director Brooks Webb announced in an email Wednesday the Laramie Landfill closed at 11 a.m. along with the halting of trash and recycling collection services. He added the entire Solid Waste Division would be closed today, with plans to reopen and commence trash and recycling collections on Friday.
“All trash and recycling collections missed during the closure should be collected by the end of the day on Saturday,” Webb said in the email.
A University of Wyoming news release sent late Wednesday night said UW will be closed all day today, canceling all “classes, labs and activities.” The closure includes buses, the Wyoming Union, Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center and the Early Childhood Education Center.
“Essential staff will be contacted by their supervisors with instructions to maintain critical services,” the release said.
While UW had an early closure due to weather a few years ago, director of institutional communications Chad Baldwin said a full-day weather closure hasn’t happened at UW for “at least a decade.”
He added one of the primary factors for the decision to close early include the “health and safety of students and employees” especially relating to travel conditions.
Washakie Dining Center and the residence halls remain open today.
Albany County School District No. 1 canceled “all schools and district offices” today. The closures include Slade Elementary School’s Pre-K-second grade music program this evening.
Laramie County Community College closed “all campuses and outreach centers” today due to weather conditions.
Albany County offices closed at noon Wednesday due to weather, according to an email from Albany County Deputy Clerk Kayla White. The offices will also be closed today.
The U.S. Postal Service brought drivers in around 3 p.m. Wednesday, USPS window clerk Susan Soule said. She added deliveries today will likely be limited to local mail due to interstate closures.
WYDOT also announced its offices in Laramie, including Drivers’ Services, are closed today.
The NWS posts weather updates to its website, www.weather.gov/cys/, as well as its social media pages, including on Facebook and Twitter.
The Boomerang plans to update the story as the storm progresses with any additional closures, impacts and alerts.