DENVER | A storm left ice and snow on roads in Montana on Wednesday and could cause headaches for those traveling in Wyoming for Thanksgiving before it moves into Colorado.
Outside the Rockies, snow and rain fell in California. Here’s a look at weather in the West:
Travelers in Colorado who get to their destination before sunset Wednesday should be able to avoid the brunt of the storm.
However, it is initially expected to bring a mix of freezing drizzle and snow along the populated Front Range region, including Denver, Colorado Springs and Interstate 25, so drivers will likely have to deal with very slippery roads Wednesday evening.
Snow is forecast overnight, throughout Thanksgiving Day and into Friday, dropping up to 10 inches in the mountains for holiday skiers and snowboarders and up to 8 inches in the Denver area.
Security lines were long at Denver International Airport, where an extra 6,000 travelers were expected, but no problems were reported.
Up to 9 inches of powder has fallen so far, and blowing snow will reduce visibility across central and southeastern parts of the state. Wind chills could fall below zero in some areas, and cold temperatures are forecast to linger through the rest of the week.
The state transportation department is reminding holiday travelers to check road conditions before traveling, watch for snowplows and carry a winter survival kit.
Flights at the state’s major airports were running on time Wednesday, but officials with Great Falls International Airport suggested people arrive two hours before their flights because of the busy holiday season.
As the storm spreads south, it could snarl traffic along two major highways through Wyoming: Interstate 25 from northern Wyoming into Colorado and Interstate 80 from Nevada to eastern Wyoming.
Especially treacherous could be the heavily traveled stretch of I-80 across the Great Divide Basin in southern Wyoming. A blizzard warning was in effect there, and winds could approach 40 mph, strong enough to topple empty truck trailers and nudge cars off slick pavement.
People traveling either route should consider leaving early to beat the storm or waiting for the weather to clear, Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Kingham said.
A wintry storm in California brought rain to the San Francisco Bay Area and snow to the Sierra Nevada, making a white Thanksgiving likely in the mountains.
As much as a foot of snow covered the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe, with 8 inches at lake level, the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts up to 100 mph over mountain ridgetops were possible.
The snowstorm packing 50 mph winds blew into Lake Tahoe and northern Nevada on Tuesday, slowing mountain travelers and kicking up dust storms along Interstate 80 east of Reno.
State troopers responded to multiple accidents on I-80 southwest of Truckee, California, but no serious injuries were reported Wednesday.
The forecast calls for cold but clear and dry weather by Thanksgiving.