You know if they’re naming a snowstorm Ezekiel, it’s packing a punch.
And that’s what will slam into northeastern Wyoming and the Gillette area on Friday night and continue through Sunday morning.
Ezekiel is forecast to deliver anywhere from 7 to 14 inches of snow and winds that will likely result in whiteouts and dangerous conditions through 6 a.m. Sunday.
As part of the storm, the National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, has issued a blizzard warning from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday.
“The last storm basically stopped at the county line,” said David King, coordinator of Campbell County Emergency Management. “Now it’s going to be our turn. ... From here on out, it’s going to get worse.”
Knowing that, the city of Gillette declared a Level 1 snow emergency Friday morning. That declaration, in effect from 8 a.m. Friday, requires all vehicles to be removed from designated snow emergency routes by noon Friday.
To introduce Ezekiel to Wyoming, the National Weather Service also issued a special weather statement Friday morning about the light, freezing drizzle the system brought to northeast Wyoming, leading to slick roads. Those conditions are expected to continue throughout the day in Gillette, Wright, Moorcroft, Hulett, Four Corners, Sundance, Newcastle and Upton and through the western corner of South Dakota in the Black Hills to Rapid City.
“Roads are ice covered in many areas with conditions not improving much through the day,” the statement said. “Dozens of accidents and vehicles sliding into ditches have been reported. If you have to travel today, take it extremely slow and leave ample distance between your vehicle and the next.”
The blizzard warning said the freezing drizzle will be followed by snow tonight and strong winds with gusts as high as 50 mph, King said. That will cause blowing snow and affect those traveling.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” King added. “There may be a whole lot of people getting out of town or trying to get into town. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Strong winds could cause tree damage.”
The strongest winds are expected Saturday and heavy snow is expected Friday night.