The snowstorm that dumped several inches of snow on East Idaho starting Friday morning finally exited the region on Saturday afternoon, leaving in its wake numerous crashes on local roads.
The most notable impact of the storm was the temporary shutdown of Interstate 15 in the Blackfoot area after about a dozen wrecks involving multiple semis occurred in quick succession on that section of freeway starting around 4:45 p.m. Friday.
Idaho State Police shut down the five-mile stretch of interstate around 5:10 p.m. Friday after the crashes occurred just north of Blackfoot during snowy and icy conditions.
Interstate 15 between the Highway 26 exit in Blackfoot and the northbound Blackfoot rest area remained closed until around 7:10 p.m. Friday due to what state police referred to as “treacherous” winter weather. The Bingham County Sheriff’s Office reported that there were no fatalities in the series of Interstate 15 wrecks but multiple people suffered minor injuries. More detailed information on the accidents has not yet been released.
The crashes prompted state police to urge people to stay off the roads in East Idaho on Friday night as the storm continued to bring snow to the region.
Wrecks on East Idaho’s roads were a common theme of the snowstorm but most of the crashes did not result in injuries and there were no reports of fatalities.
One of the most serious wrecks was a three-vehicle crash late Friday morning that temporarily shut down Yellowstone Avenue’s northbound lanes in Pocatello.
Two people suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries in the crash which occurred during busy Black Friday traffic on Yellowstone.
The 11:45 a.m. chain-reaction accident involved a car and two pickup trucks all heading northbound on Yellowstone between Walnut and Pine streets.
Yellowstone Avenue was very slick at the time because of the snowstorm but authorities haven’t yet said whether the snow was a factor in the crash.
Multiple Pocatello Fire Department ambulances responded to the accident and police shut down Yellowstone Avenue northbound for over 30 minutes so the wrecked vehicles could be removed and the two injured people could be treated.
The injured man and woman were in the car involved in the wreck and both were transported via ambulances to Portneuf Medical Center for treatment, authorities said.
Pocatello police are investigating the crash and have not provided details on how the collision occurred. The names of those involved in the wreck have also not been released.
The National Weather Service issued multiple winter weather advisories alerting the public about the storm’s dangerous impact on driving conditions in East Idaho but those warnings seemed to do little to deter people from taking to the road on Friday and Saturday.
The snowstorm was the latest blast of winter to hit East Idaho during Thanksgiving week following multiple winter weather systems that had already barreled through the region.
The Friday-Saturday storm dumped 4 to 5 inches of snow on East Idaho’s lower elevations including Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Blackfoot and Rexburg while the higher elevations received as much as 10 inches of snow.
The storm also brought winds of up to 30 mph to East Idaho and those gusts created blowing and drifting snow that made driving conditions even more hazardous.
In addition to hammering East Idaho, the storm hit the central Idaho mountains including Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey as well as south central and southwest Idaho including the Boise, Mountain Home, Twin Falls and Jerome areas.
Outside of Idaho, the storm triggered blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings, winter storm watches and winter weather advisories in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon.
Snow is again expected to fall on East Idaho Sunday night through Monday night with the forecast currently calling for less than an inch of snow in the lower elevations and up to 3 inches in the highlands.