“Yucky” storm is gone; City reverts to Level 1 Snow Emergency

Clearing the paths around the Gillette Police Department was several busy people busy on Tuesday. The season's first storm brought nearly a foot of snow to downtown Gillette. (RJ Morgan/County 17)

The snow has stopped falling but the problems from 48 hours of precipitation and blowing snow continue to bring travel to a halt throughout Campbell County. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Level 2 Snow Emergency has been reduced back to a Level 1 Snow Emergency.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, I-90 is closed in and out of Campbell County. Highway 59 south remains closed from Gillette to Wright, Highway 59 north is closed to the Montana state line, Highway 50 remains closed, and Highway 14/16 is closed from Gillette to Sheridan.

Most highways remained closed as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. The estimated time of reopening range from three to 12 hours. (Image courtesy of the Wyoming Department of Transportation)

The commute from Gillette to Buffalo has been closed since yesterday as well as the roads leading to the Montana state line and east to Moorcroft.

“I thought once I got out to Douglas Highway I would be alright,” said Jose Cardenas, who was attempting to go work Wednesday morning around 8 but was left waiting for a tow truck. “That was only about a half-mile away. I didn’t make it.”

The poor road conditions prompted the City of Gillette to announce a Level 2 Snow Emergency which closed all city facilities. Citizens driving during a Level 2 Snow Emergency are encouraged to remain at home because roads are likely to be impassable; and could interfere with snow and storm damage removal as well as emergency services.

In addition to the city shutting down, Campbell County School District, Campbell County Government, and Gillette College announced their closures by 6 a.m. and many smaller downtown businesses had their doors locked for the day.

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Power was also out for most of Wednesday in the Rozet and surrounding areas.

Dave Hintz, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, said the storm has moved east. He said downtown Gillette received 10-12 inches of snow and there could be up to 2 inches of additional accumulation by tomorrow.

“This storm was yucky, if you can use that as a technical word for a storm,” Hintz said. “It definitely came through as promised for Gillette. It’s safe to say the entire county of Campbell got about a foot or more.”

Hintz said the damage has been done and all that remains is wind, snow drifts, cleanup, and patience.

“I really don’t see any more snow fall for Gillette … 1 to 2 inches if you’re lucky,” he said. “The winds will continue with gusts about 38 mph but even those are starting to decrease according to our radars.”

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He said now the warm up begins. After a low Wednesday night in the low 20s, Thursday should be in the upper 40s and the weekend is expected to be in the mid 50s, perhaps low 60s in some areas of the county.

“As dry as it has been, I don’t imagine there will be a lot of puddles for long. All this precipitation should soak up,” he added.

Remember …

All travel advisories within Gillette are now lifted. Per City Code vehicles are not allowed to park on designated snow emergency routes. The following streets or portions of streets within the city are designated as Emergency Snow Routes:

1) 6th Street from Burma Avenue to Gillette Avenue.
2) 4th Street from 4-J Road to Gurley Avenue.
3) Gurley Avenue from 12th Street to 4th Street.
4) 4-J Road from 2nd Street to 8th Street.
5) Brooks Avenue from 2nd Street to Warlow.
6) 9th Street from Butler Spaeth to Highway 59.
7) Foothills Boulevard from Highway 14-16 to Echeta Road.
8) 7th Street from Highway 59 to 4-J Road.