A blizzard bombarding Colorado and Wyoming with more than 2 feet of snow in places blocked highways and closed airports yesterday, stranding thousands of travelers, while a Gulf of Mexico storm swamped the Southeast with up to 7 inches of rain and led to three deaths.
The western storm, brewed by the same system that left $203 million damage in California last week, also whipped up a freakish "tumbleweed blizzard" near Rankin, Tex. Winds gusting at hurricane force Saturday piled the weeds 10 feet deep, blocking traffic.
A utility worker in Colorado was electrocuted as heavy, wet snow that began falling Saturday snapped power lines. Scores of traffic accidents were reported in Denver, where 18.7 inches of snow had accumulated by yesterday morning. About 1,200 people were stranded for the night at Denver's Stapleton International Airport.
The airport at Cheyenne, Wyo., also was shut down, and hundreds of motorists were stranded in the Laramie area when a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 80 was closed. The Wyoming highway patrol reported at least 75 accidents during the night.
The snow did not deter dozens of Wyomians from camping out in bank parking lots, waiting to apply for a limited number of home loans to be offered at 9.87 percent, beginning today.