A large spring snowstorm delivering heavy snow, high winds and rain was causing travel problems from Wyoming to Chicago on Tuesday.
In Wyoming, some big stretches of Interstates 25 and 80 were closed for parts of the day, and blowing snow made driving dangerous along other highways. No unnecessary travel was advised Tuesday afternoon on about 180 miles of I-25 between Cheyenne and Casper because heavy snow was causing near 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 numerous 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 driving conditions deteriorated, with zero to near-zero visibility and snowy, icy roads.
Strong winds also caused 21 train cars to derail in eastern Nebraska early Tuesday west of North Bend, Union Pacific railroad spokesman Mark Davis said. No injuries were reported.
About 6.5 inches of snow fell at Denver International Airport, which was on the lower end of forecasts. Nearly 500 flights were cancelled there, and deicing was delaying departures.
Flights bound for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, meanwhile, were being delayed an average of nearly four hours because of dense fog.
While April snowstorms aren't unusual in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West, the storm comes after a rather tame winter in many areas.
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.