CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A large spring storm delivering heavy snow, strong wind and rain caused travel problems from Wyoming to Chicago on Tuesday, closing larges stretches of highways and delaying hundreds of flights.
In Wyoming, stretches of Interstates 25 and 80 were closed for parts of the day, and blowing snow made driving dangerous along other highways. About 180 miles of I-25 between Cheyenne and Casper were under whiteout conditions.
"We haven't really had bad days like today where everybody is stuck and nobody can go anywhere," said Sam Blaney, who was working the service counter at the Petro truck stop in Laramie.
About two dozen truckers and other motorists had taken refuge at the truck stop to wait out the storm, Blaney said.
Eastbound I-80 from Cheyenne to Big Springs, Neb., was closed Tuesday night. Wyoming transportation officials said their Nebraska counterparts had warned it could be midday Wednesday before the stretch reopens.
Meanwhile, freezing rain, snow and strong winds were hitting Kansas and South Dakota, where many local elections were postponed. Some schools in Minnesota dismissed students early as travel conditions deteriorated.
I-90 was closed between Rapid City and Sioux Falls, S.D., as visibility dropped to zero to near-zero on snowy, icy roads.
Strong wind gusts caused 21 train cars to derail Tuesday in eastern Nebraska, west of North Bend, Union Pacific railroad spokesman Mark Davis said. No injuries were reported.
In Denver, about 6.5 inches of snow fell at the airport, but the weather prompted nearly 500 flight cancellations and deicing planes delayed departures. Flights going to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, meanwhile, were being delayed an average of nearly four hours because of dense fog.
Many areas of Wyoming and western Nebraska received more than a foot of snow. In western Nebraska, road crews reported 8- to 9-foot drifts.
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