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Wyoming residents asked to prepare for early winter storm

The National Weather Service at the Wyoming Department of Transportation are asking area residents to be prepared for snow and cold this week.

Severe weather is expected in portions of the state, although it looks like the Star Valley area will miss the bulk of the snow.

According to the National Weather Service and Wyoming Department of Transportation, the cold snap this week offers a good reminder to all Wyoming residents to have a “vehicle winter safety kit and know where to get the latest weather forecasts and road conditions.”

“When you travel Wyoming, you can drive long distances without services, so travelers need to be ready to wait out a storm if they become stranded,” said Riverton NWS warning coordination meteorologist Tim Troutman. “Having a winter safety kit packed in your vehicle is a must.”

According to Troutman, a vehicle winter safety kit should include:
• non-perishable food,
• water,
• essential medications,
• blankets,
• flashlights,
• and a first aid kit.

Troutman said travelers should “always dress for winter weather when driving and charge cell phones before departing.”

“We have heard too many stories of people wearing shorts and sandals when driving across Wyoming,” he said. “Those won’t do you much good if you become stranded or are in an accident.”

Even with a winter safety kit packed in the vehicle, Troutman said travelers should be prepared to alter or cancel travel plans “if hazardous driving conditions are expected.”

“Check the latest weather forecast at weather.gov/riverton or call the Riverton NWS office at 1-800-211-1448 to get the latest forecasts,” said Troutman.

He said NWS offices serving Wyoming also maintain an active social media presence.
“We routinely use Facebook and Twitter to share important forecast and current weather and road conditions,” he said.

WYDOT encouraged travelers to “check the latest WYDOT road and travel information by calling 511 or by going online to http://wyoroad.info.”

Travelers can also utilize the information available through the WYDOT smart phone app. The app provides pre-trip and travel information. It can also be used to view the WYDOT network of web cameras, and it can provide traveler location information to friends and family.

“Drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel, phone down and eyes on the road,” said WYDOT public relations specialist Cody Beers of Riverton. “The Wyoming 511 pre-trip app will give you road conditions and traffic incidents for the route you are traveling, improving traveler safety,”

Beers said motorists share responsibility of protection of life and property.

“Give yourself extra time to reach your destination, drive at appropriate speeds to maintain vehicle control, always wear your seat belt, and stay well back from operating snow plows,” Beers said.

Troutman and Beers said their agencies “routinely coordinate winter weather impacts and messaging in an effort to provide a consistent message.”

“When we share the same message, it usually increases traveler confidence in what conditions to expect,” said Beers. “We want everyone to make the best possible decision when choosing where and when to travel.”

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