By David Martin

Storm brings heavy snow to GR


January 23, 2019

A statewide snowstorm brought several inches of snowfall to Sweetwater County Monday evening.

According to Geri Swanson, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service office in Riverton, a weather observer in Green River reported receiving 8 inches of snow during the storm. So far, the area has received 15 inches of snow since the beginning of the month.

Mark Westenskow, public works director for Green River said the snow removal crews were ready for the storm, but heavy snowfall postponed snowplow work on the city’s smaller streets. The city has four main plows, each given a quarter of the city to work in. The city’s snow removal plan dictates the city’s most heavily-used streets, such as Uinta Drive and Flaming Gorge Way, get plowed first before working near schools and steep streets and finally residential streets.

“We want to get into areas we know will be a challenge,” he said.

Westenskow said when plow drivers finished working those heavily used streets, they discovered the snowfall during their first pass through those areas had accumulated to a point where they needed to plow those streets again.

The snow on the city’s side streets resulted in Sweetwater County School District No. 2 canceling school for the day. According to Assistant Superintendent Jamie Christensen, the district’s transportation director determined the city’s side streets were not in a condition for buses to drive on. Christensen said the buses have difficulties driving on streets with heavy amounts of snow and ice, which resulted in the snow day being called. Students will have to make up the snow day, but the make up day has not been determined as of press time. Students at Green River High School will have to make up one and a half school days, one day from the snow day and the half day from a recent power outage at GRHS that resulted in the school closing for a day.

For the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the storm would result in closures along Interstate 80. Stephanie Harsha, public involvement specialist for WYDOT’s District 3 Office in Rock Springs, said WYDOT brought snowplow crews from northern Wyoming to help deal with the expected snowfall.

However, with the added equipment and manpower, WYDOT was forced to close I-80.

“If we can’t make it safe to travel, we have to close the roads,” she said.

Harsha said work along I-80 takes precedence and once the interstate is cleared and open, WYDOT workers focus on other state highways. During their work over the past few days, WYDOT plows haven’t been able to work unscathed. Harsha said a plow was involved in a collision with a semi truck on Wyoming 530. According to a report from WYDOT in Rawlins, another plow was struck by a semi truck at mile marker 182 on I-80, between Wamsutter and Creston Junction.


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