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  1. #1

    Default I-90 and I-80-Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, Thanksgiving blizzard 2010

    Fellow travelers;

    As yesterday and today's storm developed into the intense and severe event it now is, I thought it would be interesting to observe the effects on I-90 and I-80 conditions as it approached and departed by frequently looking at real-time conditions as shown on the ID, MT, and WY DOT webcams, an array of very well-planned and located cameras along I-90 and I-80. I should have done screen captures and posted, I suppose. I'll leave it to the reader to access the cams and tab back through the recent histories for their own views.

    Generally speaking, this one was a doozy, with sudden temperature drops to and below zero, very high winds, and much blowing snow. The highways got hammered, and there were some closures in Utah and southeast Idaho along I-84 and I-80, largely due to dangerous winds and their effects on truck and RV traffic. Some of the webcam views as the storm arrived and intensified showed I-90 and I-80 completely covered with snow by early Tuesday afternoon. I don't know if some of the passes and other segments were closed outright or not, but it seems likely.

    As of 9 am Mountain time today, however, all of the ID, MT, and WY cams along I-90 and I-80 show traffic on the move, with tractor-trailers, RVs, pickups, SUVs, and passenger cars in the images. The passes in particular still look nasty, with a single lane in each direction carrying the load, and only the wheel tracks cleared. I further suspect and believe I can see ice even in some of the wheel tracks in the passes. Some of the lower-elevation cams between the passes show a single lane cleared while others show both lanes cleared.

    The point is this: This was, and is, an epic November event. At its worst, some segments of highway were likely closed altogether for a few hours. Now, less than 24 hours later, everything is open. It's probably still slow-going and less enjoyable than a day at the beach, but everything and all types of vehicles are moving. I will be certain to peruse the cams by late this afternoon Mountain time and I fully expect to see all but the passes fully cleared on both lanes and carrying heavy holiday traffic.

    The interested and astute RoadTripper saw this one coming 24-36 hours out, and only the most ill-prepared or obstinate got caught out in it. Those who chose to wait it out will likely have suffered a delay < 1 full day, with the more adventurous and best-equipped (4WD with good snow tires) likely off the highway but mere hours with slow going for another half to full day's travel.

    "Going South" to avoid the mere possibility of this is a fool's errand, as is so often noted here in the RTA Forums. Even an epic event such as the present one can be expected to pass quickly with a day or less being lost to it.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the update, Foy. It's good to know that the crews are out there taking care of it. Despite weather forecasting not being a perfect science, it's improvement over the past several decades has allowed all of us to prepare for just such a situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I just looked at the various sites - the only Interstate that's still closed is I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne.

  4. #4

    Default High winds closure?

    Unfortunately my plans to review the pics yesterday afternoon was OBE related to Thanksgiving dinner prep (gotta have a bushel of NC oysters ready for the steamer!).

    As it's referred to on the webcam site, "The Summit" between Laramie and Cheyenne was open Wednesday morning as traffic was observed. It was apparent, however, that the wind was whipping something fierce, as many streaks of snow were visible across the roadway, even between passing vehicles. I suppose high winds eventually closed it for a spell later in the day Wednesday, a situation common along I-80 in WY.


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