A major storm that dumped snow throughout the Rockies region overnight prompted a rare decision to close Salt Lake City’s public schools on Monday, caused extensive flight delays and traffic accidents and shut down stretches of highways in Utah and Wyoming.
Snow 18 inches (46 centimeters) deep accumulated in some parts of the greater Salt Lake City area, with more forecast to fall throughout the night. The nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) that fell at the Salt Lake City International Airport broke a record for the date set back on 1936, the National Weather Service said. Flights there were delayed more than an hour.
Many Utah school districts took the rare step of canceling classes and it was the second snow day for the Salt Lake City School District in nearly 20 years. Colleges, courts and government offices delay opening.
The Utah Highway Patrol said it responded to 257 crashes throughout the state.
The snow closed long stretches of Interstates 80 and 25 and other roads across central Wyoming, where up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow was forecast at lower elevations.
The National Weather Service posted winter weather warnings for Wyoming including a blizzard warning for a stretch of Interstate 80 that could experience both heavy snow and wind gusts up to 55 mph (88 kilometers per hour).
The storm also shut down some Wyoming schools, a community college and the local airport in the central city of Casper.
In Colorado, the storm brought freezing drizzle and light snow to the populated Front Range region Monday morning, a day after residents enjoyed temperatures in the 70s.
The precipitation was expected to switch to all snow later in the day and continue through Tuesday along the Front Range and in Colorado’s northern mountains.
The storm is expected to move into the south-central U.S. and the eastern part of the country later this week, the National Weather Service said.
Source: Associated Press – BRADY McCOMBS