POCATELLO — Poor driving conditions amid gusty winter storms forced closures on stretches of highways in East Idaho on Wednesday.
The weather outlook and road conditions were already bad enough as of Wednesday afternoon that the Oneida School District made an early announcement that it will close all of its schools on Thursday.
As of 3:25 p.m., northbound lanes of Interstate 15 near the Malad Summit, from milepost 16 to milepost 27, were closed due to whiteout conditions.
As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Idaho Transportation Department reported State Highway 34 was closed between Blackfoot River Road, which is about 10 miles north of Soda Springs, and the Wyoming state line.
State Highway 33 was closed in both directions between Main Street in Newdale and 700 North Road near Tetonia.
A 28-miles stretch of State Highway 32 was closed from near Tetonia to near Ashton.
U.S. Highway 20 was closed from Ashton to the Montana State Line.
U.S. Highway 87 was closed from the U.S. 20 junction to the Montana State Line.
Due to high winds, the National Weather Service upgraded advisories along the Utah border to Winter Storm Warnings — meaning severe winter weather conditions were occurring — as of 9:42 a.m. Wednesday.
“Winds are already high and expected to get higher late this morning into early afternoon,” the weather service wrote. “Expect south-southwest winds of 35 mph with occasional gusts of 50 mph, especially along I-84 and mountain passes.”
A Winter Weather Advisory remained in effect Wednesday morning, continuing until 5 a.m. Thursday, for the Lower Snake River Plain and Lost River Valley including: Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Arco, Mackay, Chilly and Mud Lake.