Big winter storm taking aim at our area; snowfall totals over a foot possible

Much needed drought relief should arrive Monday and Tuesday, in the form of a strong spring snow storm.

Mike Weiland, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, said precipitation will begin the form of rain across the area Monday afternoon. As colder air arrives, rain will mix with snow Monday evening, before changing over to snow by midnight.

Weiland said a period of heavy snow looks likely from after midnight through at least Tuesday afternoon. He said at times, snow could fall at the rate of 2 inches or more per hour.

Given the warm ground temperatures, some of the snow that falls will melt initially, but total snowfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches looks likely across all of eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska. Areas around Sidney will likely see amounts closer to 10 inches, while areas near Harrison and Lusk look to pick up the 15 to 18 inch amounts.

Weiland said that these snowfall forecasts are "conservative", citing some forecast models are showing up to two times that amount or more. He added that he would "not be surprised" though if some areas picked up two feet or more of snow.

He said that the moisture content from this system will be high, as at least 1 to 2 inches of moisture is expected.

Winds will also increase with the system, leading to blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibilities. Weiland said that there could be road closures and power outages during the storm, and cautioned those with newborn or sick livestock to take extra precautions to protect them from the harsh weather change.

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