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Snow Stalls S.D., Wyo. Travel

November 1, 2000

MOORCROFT, Wyo. (AP) _ Up to 13 inches of blowing snow closed major highways Wednesday in eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota, stranding travelers and shutting down schools.

About 40 people, mostly truckers, were stalled at Moorcroft, which got about 5 inches of snow, said Toni Kornemann, an employee at the 24-hour Coffee Cup Fuel Stop along Interstate 90.

``I’ve had such a mess here this morning,″ she said.

Power was out for a couple of hours, disrupting food service and knocking out fuel pumps, Kornemann said.

A 60-mile section of I-90 was closed from Moorcroft to just inside South Dakota near Spearfish, along with U.S. 85 from Newcastle, Wyo., to near Lead, S.D., where 10 to 12 inches of snow accumulated.

The National Weather Service said a total of 3 feet of snow could fall in parts of South Dakota’s mountainous Black Hills.

South Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Greg Ingemunson said he heard reports of snow being blown by wind gusts of up to 49 mph.

``It’s blowing everywhere,″ Ingemunson said.

In southeastern Wyoming, a 50-mile stretch of I-80 was closed between Cheyenne and Laramie, which had up to 15 inches of snow.

Some schools canceled classes Wednesday in Wyoming’s Crook and Albany counties.

Winter storm warnings were in effect Wednesday for parts of eastern Wyoming, western South Dakota and the mountains of northwestern Colorado.

Elsewhere on the Plains, a Halloween tornado at Oconto, Neb., destroyed two downtown buildings and damaged about 45 other structures. No injuries were reported in the central Nebraska village. Eastern Nebraska also had tornadoes on Sunday that caused scattered property damage.

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