Winter is trick-or-treating on southeastern Wyoming’s door this week, but instead of handing out treats, it’s tricking folks into thinking it’s January.
Laramie residents can expect additional snowfall, cold temperatures and frigid wind chills during the next few days, with a Winter Weather Advisory in place starting late Monday and lasting until 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Cheyenne.
Spookier than the 3-5 inches of expected snowfall Tuesday, however, is the temperatures.
“We are looking at some pretty seasonably cold, if not getting close to some record cold, temperatures across the region,” NWS meteorologist Bill Mokry told the Laramie Boomerang on Monday afternoon.
Wind chill values, he added, could even get down to the minus 20- to minus 30-degree range, something “we normally see in more or less the dead of winter.”
“We’re looking at close to almost January temperatures and wind chills of concern,” Mokry said. “Frostbite times given those wind chills are generally going to be about 30 minutes or so.”
Even with the wind chill and snowfall, Mokry said wind gusts are not the biggest concern with this storm, but some blowing snow may still be possible.
The upcoming weather, Mokry said, may cause some minor travel impacts depending on snowfall accumulations in the mountains, daytime temperatures and other factors.
“Any sort of refreeze as well can certainly cause impact, especially if some roads haven’t been treated yet,” he said. “I think some nuisance travel impacts are certainly possible.”
Trick-or-treating and other Halloween night plans don’t need to be canceled yet; so far, more snow is not expected Thursday. Instead, sunny skies and a high temperature of 23 degrees is forecasted for the afternoon.
The low for Thursday night is forecasted at 12 degrees, however, so Halloween costumes might want to be coat friendly.
“For folks who still want to believe it’s the end of October, and frankly, we do, too, temperatures are a bit on the chilly side almost close to about two months early,” Mokry said.
The winter weather got a head start Sunday, and Mokry said Laramie reported about 2-3 inches of total snowfall.
The weekend snowfall affected travel heavily, with road conditions on Interstate 80 near the summit still slick in spots with blowing snow Monday afternoon, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s road conditions website, www.wyoroad.info.
Interstate 80 was closed overnight Saturday from Laramie to Rawlins, with rolling closures to Cheyenne westbound and Evanston eastbound, due to winter weather, poor visibility and slick road conditions.
Wyoming Highway 130 has been closed since Saturday due to winter conditions, with an unknown estimated opening time as of Monday afternoon.
While the road closes seasonally each winter, the current prolonged closure has not yet been declared the official closure for the season, according to WYDOT spokesman Matt Murphy.
Murphy said WYDOT will evaluate whether to reopen the highway in the next few days.