Laramie Digs Out After Winter Storm Ulmer
LARAMIE — The blizzard that swept through Wyoming to Texas had a name, and the name was Ulmer.
Ulmer left his mark on Laramie in the form of 12 inches of snow, give or take a few inches, but not before dropping a “bomb” on the area.
As much as most of us are pleased that Ulmer has gone on his way east to create havoc in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard this weekend, that didn’t stop Joyce Stewart and Jesse, Oscar and Michael Knievel from trying out their cross-country skis down 6th St. on their way to Labonte Park.
“We haven’t done much skiing lately,” Michael said. “We usually don’t have this much snow!”
The National Weather Service said Winter Storm Ulmer was a massive low-pressure system that became a bomb cyclone on Wednesday, March 13. That means the storm reached bombogenesis: when a storms minimum surface pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less.
Ulmer dropped 26 millibars in 16 hours, when its central pressure dropped from 994 millibars around 8 p.m. MDT March 12 to 968 millibars around 1 p.m. CDT March 13.
Digging out his driveway near 14th and Canby Sts. is Dennis Moore, who is the pastor at Grace Chapel in West Laramie. He measured 13 inches behind the pile behind him, and a bit more in the drifts. “On the hill, we get some good drifts usually,” Moore said, “but in this storm, I’m sure there are other places with bigger drifts than this.”
When pressure drops that fast, and reaches the low level as Ulmer did, very strong wind gusts happen. Combined with the snow, that meant blizzard and white-out conditions for the region.
That meant roads closed, schools called off, and a plethora of cancelled events and closed businesses.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Transportation said Interstate 80 will likely remain closed overnight and into Friday, the second night in a row that the highway has been closed between Cheyenne and Rock Springs.
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." But a Laramie blizzard can! If you think this motto is the rule for the U.S. Postal Service, you’re not the only one. As much as our dedicated postal employees want to make sure we get our mail every day, the fact of the matter is that the quote is not the official motto of the USPS. It was actually written about another set of postal workers from around 2,500* years ago. And if you haven't done it already, please remember to clear the snow around your mailbox for your mail carrier.
Despite the westbound lanes of I-80 between Rawlins and Walcott Junction being open, WYDOT said the roadway is wet and slick in spots, and to use caution if traveling there.
WYDOT has opened Interstate 25 from Cheyenne south to the Colorado border, but I-25 between Cheyenne and Casper remain closed.
The latest road conditions are available at WyoRoad.info, by calling 511 or via the Wyoming 511 app.
Taylor Allbright with the City of Laramie Maintenance Dept., was busy all day Thursday in the city snowblower. He started the morning clearing off the police department parking lot. After moving on to the city parking lot downtown, he made his way to Labonte Park, clearing snow off of 9th St. on the east side of the park.
* The passage claiming "2,500 years ago" is quite accurate. From USPSBlog.com:
"[The quote} is not the official Postal Service motto, though it appears chiseled in gray granite over the entrance of the James A. Farley building at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street in Manhattan. The phrase comes from book 8, paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus, a Greek historian. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.) the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great fidelity." Add 449 years to 2019, and you have a quote from about 2,500 years ago! -- Tom Kocal