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Drivers reminded spring creates avalanche conditions statewide

Idaho

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The following is a news release from the Idaho Department of Transportation.

BOISE – Warming weather of approaching spring creates potential avalanche and rockfall conditions across the state. The Idaho Transportation Department reminds drivers to plan ahead and check the 5-1-1 traveler advisory system (via phone or web) before heading out, especially to the mountains.

Recently, a spring avalanche blocked a stretch of Idaho 75 in south-central Idaho at the same time crews monitored a section of U.S. 93 in eastern Idaho due to the threat of slides. The stretch of Idaho 21 between Grandjean Junction and Banner Summit is frequently the location of springtime avalanches.

These conditions occur every year due to warming weather and spring rains that cause instability to the existing snowpack.

Bill Nicholson, ITD’s head avalanche forecaster, noted that while the amount of snow on the ground is significant, the more important indicator of avalanche danger in warm-weather conditions is the temperature of the snow at different depths.

“Avalanches happen in the spring from heat, often times on beautiful, clear days,” Nicholson said.

The 511 system is a powerful daily tool to communicate these threats.

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