CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Schools in eastern Wyoming and northern Colorado remained closed Tuesday for a second day and many roads were still impassable in the aftermath of a blizzard that pummeled the region with record snowfall.
Crews didn’t expect to reopen some highways for another day, though Interstate 25 reopened south of Wyoming’s capital, Cheyenne, for the first time since Saturday.
The weekend storm dumped over 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snow on Cheyenne, snarling streets with 4-to-5-foot (1.2-to-1.5-meter) drifts that even four-wheel drive trucks couldn’t clear. Many side streets will remain impassable for cars for several more days, city officials warned.
Firefighters used an enclosed snow machine called a snowcat to get doctors to an operating room for a patient’s emergency surgery.
“Those guys are heroes,” said one of the surgeons, Elias Kfoury. “The first responders and how they stepped up to the occasion essentially resulted in saving somebody’s life.”
Volunteers using snowmobiles helped other people get to a hospital for crucial treatment, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.
It was the city’s worst blizzard since at least 1979 and officials announced that schools in the area would be closed for a third straight day on Wednesday.
Highway crews resorted to using bulldozers in addition to plows to move snow off interstates, including I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie.
The 50-mile (80-kilometer) stretch includes the highest point along the coast-to-coast route, an 8,640-foot (2,600-meter) pass called the Summit that’s known for hairy weather even in less intense storms.
Schools remained closed Tuesday as far north as Casper, where city officials were still working to clear wind-driven snow, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
The Wyoming Legislature, which has been meeting for a month in an annual session already disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, didn’t convene for the second day in a row.