Although the promise of spring looms closer, winter is rearing its ugly head once again this week.
A winter storm warning is in effect for Laramie and southeastern Wyoming, with the potential for blizzard-like conditions Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Cheyenne.
More than just a combination of wind and snow, meteorologist and forecaster Richard Emanuel with the NWS in Cheyenne said a storm is classified a blizzard when it starts to show “extended periods of very low visibilities and very strong winds,” along with falling and drifting snow.
“It could be near whiteout conditions in some cases,” Emanuel said.
The winter weather is expected to start Tuesday night, with the worst of the storm arriving late Wednesday. Emanuel said the NWS expects “pretty nice snow amounts — probably even close to around a foot or so” across much of the eastern plains of Wyoming and into the panhandle.
“It’ll probably be less there in Laramie, but still significant,” Emanuel said.
Along with snowfall, Emanuel said there’s a chance for winds at an average of 30-40 mph, with even higher gusts expected in the plains.
With the potential for the area to have “low visibilities” and blowing snow, travel will be “impacted significantly,” Emanuel said. According to a video posted by the NWS, Interstate 80 will receive the brunt of the snow-wind combo, with the strongest portion of the storm east of Laramie.
“Even out west toward Laramie and Rawlins will probably see some impacts, too, [from] snow and blowing snow,” Emanuel said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it maybe even closes [the interstate].”
On Wednesday especially, Emanuel said to avoid traveling if possible.
“Especially once it starts blowing and drifting, they could get themselves stranded,” Emanuel said.
The NWS posts weather updates to its website, www.weather.gov/cys/, as well as its social media pages, including on Facebook and Twitter.