Winter and spring collided Sunday as parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nebraska were blasted with up to 4 feet of snow while Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri braced for heavy rains, high winds, flooding and possible tornadoes.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, saw snow totals of 25.8 inches this weekend — smashing a previous 2-day record held since 1979, according to the National Weather Service. And more could be coming — the weather service warned some areas could see up to 50 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 60 mph before the weather eased Monday.
Schools in Cheyenne and another city in Wyoming, Casper, are taking a snow day Monday, as are Denver Public Schools. Some government offices in those areas also will be closed Monday.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced the closure of state facilities and state offices in Laramie County starting Monday, adding that Wyoming Legislature will not meet as well.
"We will see high winds and snowfall into the overnight hours tonight," said Gordon on Twitter late Sunday. "Stay safe and avoid unnecessary travel."
More than 2,000 flights were canceled in and out of Denver alone over the weekend. Runways were closed for Sunday night, the Denver International Airport tweeted, as it marked nearly two inches of snow.
Many highways and local roads were closed, including a few with "no alternate route advised."
In Colorado, some areas already had almost 30 inches of snow by noon Sunday. A foot of snow had fallen in Denver, and more was on the way.
"Total snow accumulations of 12-24 inches for the Interstate 25 corridor and up to 3-4 feet in the northern foothills," the National Weather Service warned. "Wind gusts of 30-40 mph will cause some blowing and drifting snow."
The Colorado Department of Transportation reported a slew of highway closures, including swaths of Interstate 70 that runs east to west across the state. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center set the avalanche risk as high, warning of "very dangerous avalanche conditions."
"Slow to ramp up Saturday, storm makes itself known on Sunday," the state Transportation Department tweeted Sunday afternoon. "Return travel from the mountains into #Denver will be extremely challenging Sunday. Motorists please make plans to postpone travel until Monday."
Major roads southeast of a line that crosses diagonally from the southwest corner of Wyoming to its northeast corner were closed Sunday, including roads in and out of Cheyenne and Casper. The Associated Press reported that 98 trucks were stranded outside of Cheyenne.
Nebraska’s State Patrol tweeted asking people across the western part of the state to stay home to avoid strong winds and blizzard conditions. The Department of Transportation urged people across the state to avoid travel if at all possible, reported the Omaha World-Herald.
Parts of Texas were in recovery mode after being pounded by tornadoes and heavy storms Friday and Saturday. In Amarillo, dozens of hikers were evacuated from a trail after two possible tornadoes in the area. Randall County Sheriff Christopher Forbis reported hail the size of baseballs.
“Power lines and a cell tower are down,” Amarillo Area Emergency Management Director Chad Orton said. “One house was damaged, but the family was in the basement … there have been no injuries or fatalities.”
More severe weather rolled through Texas and Oklahoma all the way to the Mississippi River on Sunday. The biggest threats were heavy, drenching downpours and damaging winds, AccuWeather said. Parts of Missouri were deluged with 7 inches of rain Saturday, and more was forecast for Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, warned that strong and severe storms were possible late Sunday.
"Damaging winds will remain the primary threat, but an isolated tornado cannot be completely ruled out," the weather service said.
Heavy, gusty storms could shift east into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys on Monday, AccuWeather said.
Contributing: Charles Ventura, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giant winter storm slams Colorado and Wyoming with record snow levels