Wind gusts up to 118 mph causes multiple closures

CASPER — High winds and icy conditions kept several Wyoming highways closed Sunday, including large portions of Interstate 25 and Interstate 80. The closures followed a cold front that dumped snow over much of the region. 

Although snowfall totals weren’t especially notable, the storm was followed by powerful winds that made visibility difficult and driving conditions treacherous at times. A peak wind report released Sunday morning by the National Weather Service showed a 118 mph gust recorded in Clark, a small community in the northern part of the state. 

A 76 mph gust was recorded near Casper, with 62 mph winds reported at the city’s airport. 

The high winds caused a structure at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds to collapse on Sunday, leaving metal debris in the road, the Casper Police Department reported. 

Interstate 25 was closed Saturday and part of Sunday from Cheyenne to Douglas due to poor visibility and icy conditions. 

As of Sunday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Transportation had lifted the closure. 

Interstate 80 was also totally closed between Rawlins and Laramie on Saturday and part of Sunday. Even after the full closure was lifted, rolling closures remained in effect from Evanston to Rawlins. 

Long lines of semi-trucks waiting for the closures to lift were seen on WYDOT web cams. The agency said multiple crashes had been reported and posted photos of several jackknifed semis along the interstate. 

Wind speeds along the I-80 corridor in southeastern Wyoming reached speeds of nearly 80 mph. 

Winds in Cheyenne topped out at 66 mph, according to the National Weather Service. 

Other closures on Sunday included  Wyoming Highways 59, 50 and 387 in Campbell County;  Wyoming Highway 34 between Bosler and I-25;  Wyoming Highway 77 in the Shirley Basin. 

Snow began falling on Thursday in Wyoming. Although the precipitation had cleared by Friday, high winds rolled into the area, creating blizzard-like conditions. 

Gusts of 65 to 95 mph were recorded Saturday morning in wind-prone corridors of the state, according to the National Weather Service. 

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 50s in Casper by Tuesday. However, more snow is forecast for Wednesday.