Interstate 80 Closed in Wyoming as Heavy Snow, Strong Winds Impact the West

Sean Breslin
Published: May 18, 2017

A late-spring snowstorm is causing havoc in the Rockies this week, shutting down roads, damaging trees and knocking out power.

Interstate 80 in southeast Wyoming was closed Thursday morning in both directions between Cheyenne and Laramie due to dangerous travel conditions. The wintry weather also forced a part of Interstate 70 to be closed near Vail Thursday morning after multiple spinouts occurred.

Images of downed trees and tree limbs were shared on social media in parts of Montana Wednesday afternoon, and more than 4,000 homes and businesses lost power in the Missoula area Wednesday afternoon, according to the Associated Press. Additional outages were reported in the Helena, Cascade, Ulm and Great Falls areas, the report also said.

According to the National Weather Service, the 2.7 inches that fell in Missoula Wednesday was a daily record, breaking the previous May 17 record of 0.2 inches which stood for 121 years.

Up to 31 inches of snow has been reported in south-central Montana near the town of Nye.

(MORE: Where the Snow Could Be Heaviest)

No injuries were reported when a semi truck jackknifed along Interstate 90 at Homestake Pass, but the eastbound lanes of the freeway had to be closed Wednesday afternoon, according to KRTV.com.

To the south, Wyoming roads became snow-covered and hazardous, especially in the passes.

By Wednesday morning, more than a half-foot of snow had been reported to the National Weather Service in several locations in Idaho and in an area southwest of Newcomb, Montana.

In some neighborhoods in the Salt Lake City area, preset sprinkler systems watered lawns that were covered in snow, the AP also said.

Nothing like mid-may snow storms. #utah

A post shared by Rusty Nall (@rnall) on

MORE: Winter Storm Ursa


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.