updated 4/21/2005 9:38:12 AM ET 2005-04-21T13:38:12

A powerful storm system is leaving its mark in the West, with snow in Wyoming, hail in Colorado and strong winds on tap for the Plains states.

Some 15 inches of snow fell in portions of Wyoming, closing a 45-mile stretch of Interstate 80, the state’s main east-west highway, for four hours.

Traffic accidents were reported in conditions that included blowing and drifting snow and limited visibility.

Several cities reported large snowfall accumulations. Lander had 15 inches of snow, and Sinks Canyon reported 10 inches.

In northeastern Colorado, chunks of hail the size of grapefruits fell, shattering car windshields. The wind and hail forced canceled flights at Denver International Airport, and some incoming planes were diverted elsewhere.

In downtown Denver, the pounding hail set off car alarms and had pedestrians running for cover.

A forecaster with the National Weather Service says despite several recent warm, sunny days, they knew the foul weather was coming and that conditions would be severe at times.

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