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Snowstorm surprises county; bitter cold expected to follow

Jan 6, 2014 - From staff reports

Fremont County was blanketed with unexpectedly heavy snow Friday and Saturday, with bitterly cold temperatures expected to follow as the storm system clears the area Sunday.

Forecasts had called for the possibility of snow showers Friday night, but even that seemed unlikely during an unseasonably warm day. Both Lander and Riverton experienced record-challenging warmth Friday, with Lander reaching 50 degrees, Riverton 48. Normal highs for both cities are about 30 degrees for the date.

Conditions began to change rapidly after sunset, with snow falling by 7:30 p.m. in Riverton. The snowfall rate was heavy for a coup0le of hours before easing somewhat near midnight.

The storm brought at least two power outages Friday night, but electricity was restored relatively quickly. Official snowfall totals trough 5 p.m. Saturday were 7.5 inches in Riverton, 6.9 inches in Lander, with snow depths varying according to exact locales. Eyewitness accounts in Pavillion, for example, reported only about 3 inches of snow.

The weather cleared Saturday morning, but temperatures only reached the 20s. Even colder weather is forecast for Sunday night, with sub-zero temperatures and colder wind chills predicted as the storm vacates the region.

Milder weather is in the forecast later in the week, but temperatures are not expected to warm enough to cause significant snowmelt.

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