National Guard Activated to help stranded motorists in Colorado due to Winter Weather

DENVER (AP) -- Here's the Latest on a winter storm hitting the West and Midwest (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Truck stops in eastern Wyoming have turned into refuges for motorists because of a blizzard that has shut down two key highways.

In Cheyenne, about 60 trucks were stranded at the Sapp Brothers Travel Center along Interstate 80 and an estimated 120 were at the Love's Travel Stop off Interstate 25.

A 280-mile (451-kilometer) stretch of I-80 was closed from the small city Rock Springs to the Nebraska state line. And a 300-mile (483-kilometer) section of I-25 was closed from the small city of Buffalo to the Colorado border.

The blizzard began Wednesday morning and was expected to continue through Wednesday night. It prompted the closures of schools, government offices, a university and the Cheyenne Veteran Affairs Medical Center and its clinics.

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2:35 p.m.

Authorities blamed high winds for a train derailment in eastern New Mexico where approximately 25 freight cars went off a trestle over a mostly dry river bed.

The New Mexico State Police said no injuries resulted from the wreck Wednesday near Logan, about 184 miles (296 kilometers) east of Albuquerque.

State Police photos posted on Twitter showed shipping containers strewn across the river bed, with a jumbled pile of containers on the slope above one bank of the Canadian River.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said the derailed cars were the tail end of a mixed-freight train consisting of two locomotives and 73 rail cars.

A high wind warning issued earlier by the National Weather Service said the storm moving through the area would produce "one of the strongest wind events in years for West Texas and southeast New Mexico."

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1:30 p.m.

The Nebraska State Patrol has closed Interstate 80 from the Wyoming border east to North Platte as well as all state highways in the Nebraska Panhandle as a late-winter blizzard swept into the state.

The patrol advised motorists on Wednesday not to travel.

The closures came as officials also warned of flooding in the eastern part of the state.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for parts of Wyoming and western to central Nebraska north into South Dakota.

The service says blizzard conditions will continue through Thursday afternoon.

Snow accumulation of 10 to 22 inches (25 to 56 centimeters) is expected, with higher amounts further north. Winds gusting as high as 65 mph (105 kph) also were forecast.

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11:40 a.m.

Some of Colorado's busiest highways are closed as a raging storm brings heavy snow to a wide swath of the West and Midwest.

Many schools and state offices were shut down Wednesday amid a blizzard expected to engulf parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.

In Colorado, 22 miles (35 kilometers) of Interstate 25 near the Wyoming border was closed, and 66 miles (105 kilometers) of Interstate 70 was closed to westbound traffic.

The two highways are the state's busiest north-south and east-west routes, crossing in Denver.

Vehicles were required to have chains to cross several mountain passes in Colorado.

Three major entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park were also closed.

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9:55 a.m.

Hundreds of miles of interstate highway in Wyoming have closed because of a raging late winter storm bringing heavy snow to the eastern and southern parts of the state.

A 250-mile (402-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to Rock Springs is closed, along with a 110-mile (177-kilometer) section of I-25 from Casper to Buffalo.

Heavy snow hit Cheyenne about midmorning Wednesday and was spreading into Colorado and Nebraska.

About 1,000 flights into Denver have been canceled as a winter storm hits the western U.S., with blizzard conditions expected to engulf parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.

School was canceled Wednesday in many places where up to more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow and winds as high as 80 mph (129 kph) was possible.

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8:34 a.m.

About 1,000 flights into Denver have been canceled as a winter storm hits the western U.S., with blizzard conditions expected to engulf parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.

School was canceled Wednesday in many places where up to more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow and winds as high as 80 mph (129 kph) was possible.

State and local government workers in Denver and Wyoming were told to stay home and many colleges also closed for the day.

Parts of Interstates 80 and 25 were closed in Wyoming because of heavy snow and whiteout conditions.

Heavy snow was falling in northern Arizona and forecasters say dangerous winds in New Mexico are expected to make travel hazardous across much of the state.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

3/13/2019 3:12:49 PM (GMT -6:00)

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