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Bobby Ganzenmuller plows the sidewalk surrounding Marv’s Place Pawn Shop on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 in downtown Cheyenne. The National Weather Service measured 12.5 inches of snow at its office on Airport Parkway on Tuesday. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – A storm that closed schools, government offices and some businesses Tuesday in southeast Wyoming brought more than a foot of snow to Cheyenne, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm began Monday afternoon and continued until Tuesday afternoon in Cheyenne. NWS meteorologist Andrew Lyons said the official measurement at the weather station was 12.5 inches of snow, though snowfall totals have varied around the area.

“We’ve gotten numerous reports in and around Cheyenne of anywhere from 10 to 16 inches,” Lyons said.

The forecast projected an additional 1 to 2 inches of snow falling in Cheyenne on Tuesday.

“It’s really starting to taper off now,” Lyons said in an interview around 10:30 a.m. “It’s much weaker than it was earlier this morning.”

Much of Interstate 80 remained closed from Cheyenne to Rock Springs on Tuesday. The Wyoming Department of Transportation also recommended no unnecessary travel along Interstate 25 in Laramie County until road conditions improve.

Karen Rodgers, the fuel desk manager at the Little America Truck Center, said early warnings about the storm kept many truckers from getting stuck in Cheyenne.

“Right now, even with the roads being closed, we’re slow,” Rodgers said Tuesday afternoon. “For other storms, we’ll get hit with trucks everywhere, but this one has been really mellow.”

The Wyoming Highway Patrol reported no fatal crashes related to the storm, though Sgt. Jeremy Beck said that statistic doesn’t include possible fatalities handled by other law enforcement agencies. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Beck said the Highway Patrol had worked 12 crashes in the previous 12 hours.

While most places were closed Tuesday, homeless shelters stayed open. COMEA House Executive Director Robin Bocanegra said the shelter was essentially full, adding the shelter’s current situation is worse than during the storm in March.

“It seems to me we have more people here, and maybe that’s because it’s the holidays right now, too,” Bocanegra said. “Our numbers are getting higher, regardless of the weather.”

The shelter remains open when nightly temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This week’s cold weather will continue after the storm, with subzero temperatures and windchills expected overnight Tuesday.

“We’re looking at temperatures pretty much below zero for everybody,” Lyons said. “Here in Cheyenne, it should be about minus-2 (degrees Fahrenheit).”

Lyons said temperatures in Cheyenne may barely get above freezing Thursday and Friday before another storm moves in this weekend that could bring a couple more inches of snow.

“Right now, it’s looking like Cheyenne is going to be spared the worst of (the next storm),” Lyons said. “Mainly late Friday night through Sunday evening, that’s kind of the main time frame we’re watching for this storm.”

This is not the first time Cheyenne has seen an intense storm during the week of Thanksgiving, however. This year marks the 40th anniversary of a November 1979 snowstorm that brought about 25 inches of snow to Cheyenne over a three-day span.

The 1979 storm broke the record for snowiest single day, with 19.8 inches of snow recorded Nov. 20.

“Even for November, this snowstorm is pretty significant, but that one was the most we ever had,” NWS meteorologist Steve Rubin said of the 1979 storm.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at tcoulter@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @tomcoulter_.

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