Worst Wyoming Snow Storms, Karen’s Top Five
Now is the time of year when mother nature dumps on places like Wyoming. Caught between low and high pressure systems she puts on the squeeze.
Southern Wyoming seems to get hit harder then those of us here in the middle of the state, though central Wyoming gets its due-more on that later-but for the number five spot in this list of Worst Wyoming Snowstorms (All in the last ten years.) we go back to Cheyenne, October, 2009.
Just two years ago in Cheyenne that city had the snowiest October on record. The first storm hit early in the month around the 10th dumping over 10 inches. It continued to snow over the next couple of weeks ending in another storm that dropped 6 inches just before Halloween.
Cheyenne shattered its snow fall records for October that year going all the way back to 1872 with 28 inches falling in the city by Halloween.
It was record breaking cold that year too.
I keep the focus on the southeastern part of the state with this next storm that hit Cheyenne and surrounding areas as well. Snow storm # 4 came in time to really mess up holiday travel in December of 2006. The storm hit on the 20th and 21st and Metorologist, Chris Jones, with the National Weather Service out of Riverton, says it only dropped around a foot of snow, but it was the wind, "there were drifts five feet tall and I remember hearing from people who were able to snowmobile over cars that were drifted and things like that." The wind in Wyoming makes what could be a winter wonderland into something unspeakable.
In late March of 2007 a widespread storm hit from Casper down to the front range of Colorado. The snow was reportedly significant, but the winds, upwards of 40 to 60 mph, really made it into the blizzard that it was. The storm started on a Wednesday and continued until Saturday stranding people for several days.
Stories from the Weather Service Archive tell of a multi-vehicle accident on I-90 that involved at least a couple of semis, a school bus, and a passenger vehicle. Many roadways including Interstates 25, 80, and I90 across the eastern half of the state were closed.
Now think back to October of 2003. An abrupt change to the upper level jet stream caused a wintry end to an otherwise very warm and dry month across central Wyoming. The National Weather Service out of Riverton reported an upper level trough was carving its way across the Rockies and brought a surge of Canadian cold air in on Wednesday, October 29th followed by widespread snow. Central Wyoming was buried under a large swath of one to two feet of snow by Thursday evening.
It was a big snow storm for Casper and surrounding areas and on top of that, afterward we had a cold high pressure system that came in from the North and drop temperatures to below zero. So we had an early winter that year.
That storm was a pre-Halloween event leaving trick-o-treaters drifts to climb through, if they got out at all.
17 inches were recorded at the airport, 18 in Bar Nunn, 20 inches in Casper and 22 recorded for Mills.
My choice for worst snow storm isn't for the amount of snow, rather I choose it, because it takes the cake when it comes to weather insults.
The spring snowstorm eclipsed Casper's record for snowfall on the fifth of May.
The National Weather Service's Riverton office reported that a foot of snow had fallen on Casper Mountain as of 5 p.m.
The snowfall also closed a stretch of Interstate 25 in both directions from Casper to Douglas, and left thousands without power during part of the day. According to stories in the Weather Service archives police and electricians responded to dozens of downed power lines, including some that sparked and came dangerously close to toppling trees.
The city dealt with dozens of spin outs and at least one three-car accident on Interstate 25 within the Casper City limits.
At one point, police ran out of tow companies to call to pull vehicles out of snowdrifts and the assorted accidents.
When it was all over Casper had reports of between 5 and 11 inches of snow.