Just a day after Tuesday’s Red Flag fire warning ended, winter weather is on the horizon for southeast Wyoming.
Starting Wednesday night through Friday morning, Laramie can expect to see bitterly cold temperatures, with a high of only 25 degrees Thursday dropping down to the teens that evening.
Jeff Garmon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, told the Boomerang this afternoon even 25 degrees “could be generous in the forecast.”
“Especially if it keeps snowing fairly hard through the morning, it’ll keep those temperatures down into the lower 20s,” Garmon said.
As of this afternoon, the NWS placed Laramie under a winter storm watch for Wednesday evening through Thursday. Garmon said it’s “going to get really cold — unusually cold.”
“It’s going to be a quick drop in temperature,” he added. “We’re going to single-digits here by Friday morning, and there is going to be a windchill with that below zero.”
While it’s looking like Laramie will be saved from the worst of the snowy portion of the storm — which is forecasted to dump up to a foot of snow around Douglas —residents can still expect to see up to 6 inches of snowfall accumulated by Friday morning.
Garmon said there’s a chance the heavier snow could eventually develop more to the south toward Laramie.
“If we get a band of heavier snow set up, that could inch up closer to 8 or so inches depending on how fast the cold air gets in place and how fast the precipitation starts to move out after it starts,” he said.
As always in southeastern Wyoming, wind may blow the snow and affect snowfall totals in certain areas; the NWS is forecasting wind gusts of up to 30 mph. While not at blizzard conditions, Garmon said it could create blowing snow which may impede travel.
With it being the first major cold snap of the winter, Garmon said it’s a good time for residents to double-check their cars — including belts, hoses, batteries and other parts potentially affected by the cold — before the storm hits.
“You’re actually looking at around 5 degrees for the low by Friday morning,” Garmon said. “That’s an opportunity for things to go wrong with your vehicle.”
Garmon recommends travelers have a winter emergency kit ready in their vehicles — with supplies including a blanket, shovel, snowbrush and other winter essentials — just in case of a flat tire, dead battery or other issues.
For those traveling Wednesday night or Thursday, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has a map available on its website, wyoroad.info, where road conditions, visibility issues, closures and more are updated in real-time.
“We collaborate our messaging with them so that we're both saying the same thing,” Garmon said. “We’ve collaborated with them going into this storm.”
Updated weather information can be found on the NWS website, weather.gov/Cheyenne, including updates to winter storm watches and precipitation amounts.