Snowstorm causes several wrecks on East Idaho roads; Monday morning commute expected to be especially treacherous

Authorities are urging motorists to use caution while driving because of the snowstorm currently hitting East Idaho.

Authorities are urging motorists to use caution while driving because of the snowstorm currently hitting East Idaho.

By Journal Staff

The big snowstorm hitting East Idaho is causing multiple wrecks and the Monday morning commute promises to be especially difficult.

Idaho State Police said the winter storm caused several crashes — mostly slide-offs — in East Idaho on Sunday night as the snow intensified. State police said conditions are most hazardous on Interstate 84, Interstate 15 and Highway 20. So far no one has been seriously injured in any of the crashes but winter driving conditions are occurring region-wide and authorities are urging motorists to use caution.

The National Weather Service reported Sunday morning that the storm will dump more snow on East Idaho than originally predicted. The snow started falling on East Idaho Sunday morning and is expected to continue through Monday morning. All of the states surrounding Idaho are also being hit by the storm.

Most of East Idaho’s higher elevation areas, including Island Park, Driggs, Victor, Ashton, Palisades, Wayan, Soda Springs, Lava Hot Springs, Inkom, McCammon, Downey and Bone, are forecast to possibly receive 10 inches or more of snow Sunday morning through Monday morning.

The Montpelier, Georgetown, Paris, St. Charles, Arbon, Thatcher and Rockland areas could receive nine inches or more of snow during that same time frame.

Up until Sunday morning, only East Idaho’s highlands were under winter weather advisories but then the weather service issued a winter weather advisory for the region’s lowlands, including Pocatello, Chubbuck, Preston, Idaho Falls, Ammon, American Falls, Aberdeen, Rexburg, Roberts, Fort Hall, Rigby, Firth, Malad, Shelley and Blackfoot. These lower elevation areas are now forecast to receive possibly five inches or more of snow, with the flakes mostly falling Sunday afternoon through Sunday night.

A wind advisory is also in effect for East Idaho calling for gusts of nearly 50 mph on Sunday.

The weather service said, “Large vehicles, especially semis with lighter loads, will experience difficult travel when driving through crosswinds.”

The weather service said road conditions could be especially slick and icy during the storm and mountain passes could be very hazardous for motorists.

The weather service stated, “Be prepared for blowing and drifting snow with reduced visibilities at times. A winter weather advisory for snow means periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.”

The snow that falls on East Idaho Sunday morning through Monday morning will also have some rain mixed in and there could be periods of rain during the storm, the weather service said.

Daytime high temperatures in East Idaho Sunday and Monday are expected to be in the 20s and 30s while lows Sunday night/Monday morning are expected to be in the teens and 20s.

Elsewhere in the state much of south central and southwestern Idaho are also under wind advisories, and winter weather advisories calling for several inches of snow have been issued for the central Idaho mountains and much of northern and southwest Idaho.

Outside of Idaho, the storm has triggered hazardous weather alerts, winter weather advisories, winter storm watches, winter storm warnings and/or high wind warnings in all surrounding states.

Visit idahostatejournal.com for the latest updates on the storm as it hits the region.