WYDOT Warns Travelers: Weather Will Impact Travel

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Rock Springs, Wyo. The Wyoming Department of Transportation would like to warn travelers that the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, which will cause severe  travel impacts and dangerous road conditions beginning tonight and through tomorrow. 

A major winter storm is taking shape for central and southern Wyoming from early Thursday morning through Friday morning. The snow will be heaviest on Thursday and will gradually slow Thursday night before coming to an end Friday morning. Snowfall rates of 1 inch to possibly 2 inches an hour could occur during the day Thursday. Very gusty north to northeast wind is expected to develop early Thursday morning which will cause significant blowing and drifting snow.  Whiteout conditions are expected at times in rural areas.

“We highly recommend that you limit your travel and stay home if you can.  At least until Friday afternoon, if possible,”  WYDOT Public Relations Specialist Stephanie Harsha said.

If you must travel, WYDOT is offering these winter driving tips:

  • First and foremost, wear your seatbelt. It will save your life.
  • Make sure your vehicles are in top operating condition.
    •  Bring along safety supplies and be prepared. Carry a sleeping bag, blankets, flashlights, non-perishable food, water, matches and fire starter, cell phone, a good shovel, flares, and even sand or cat litter for traction.
    • Let someone know when you leave and when you’ll arrive at your destination.
    • Keep your gas tank full of fuel.
    • Drivers of some vehicles may want to carry tire chains.
    • If you’re stranded during the winter on the open road, stay with your vehicle. Your vehicle is your protection against winter weather, and staying with it offers your best refuge and protection of surviving a blizzard. If running your vehicle’s engine while stranded, make sure exhaust pipe doesn’t become plugged with snow.
    • And, know before you go. For Wyoming road conditions this winter, call 511, or log on to www.wyoroad.info or download the WYDOT app.

WYDOT is also asking the public to be aware of their snow plows out working on the highways. When crews are working the roads, the trucks will display amber, red and blue flashing lights that are mounted on top of the cab and on the back of the sanders.

Snow plows are huge machines, capable of moving tons of snow every minute. Operators of these snow plows are highly trained professionals. These snow plow professionals need cooperation from drivers so they can do their jobs and keep the road safe for drivers. WYDOT recommends you give them room to operate.  With limited visibility, snow plow drivers can’t see vehicles behind them if the vehicles are too close to the plows.

WYDOT is also asking drivers to be aware of conditions and obey all reduced or variable speed limits.

“WYDOT and Highway Patrol would also like to  remind travelers that those changing limits are not suggested speeds, and those speeds will be enforced and drivers can and will be ticketed for exceeding them,” Harsha said.

If conditions become exceedingly detrimental to travel, WYDOT will not hesitate to close roads to traffic until they can be reasonably safe to travel. Every effort is made to keep high priority roads, such as Interstate 80, open to travel, in order to continue the flow of economic goods and services, to avoid hindering public travel as much as possible.

“Winter maintenance is and always will be a great challenge, but the crews at the Wyoming Department of Transportation have and will continue to pursue the best possible ways to combat the brutal Wyoming winters and provide a safe, efficient transportation system for its users,” Harsha said.

For information about road conditions and closures, visit www.wyoroad.info.

For more information on road closures and weather conditions, please visit http://www.wyoroad.info.