BLACKFOOT — Bingham County was shut down Tuesday because of a blizzard that roared through the region. Schools and government offices closed as roads were impassable due to blowing and drifting snow.
Tuesday morning the Bingham County Sheriff's Office announced all roads in Bingham County were closed unless there was an emergency. The roads were to remain closed until they could be cleared by the County Road and Bridge Department. The County Courthouse also closed. All travelers were urged to stay home and off the roads.
The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes closed all east-west roads on the Fort Hall Reservation due to drifting snow on the roadways. The Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School and all Tribal government offices were also closed. Tribal police asked people who needed to travel for medical emergencies to call them at 478-4000 or 238-4000.
Interstate 15 remained open to Idaho Falls and Pocatello, but the roadway was covered in snow and few drivers dared to venture into the blustery conditions.
Interstate 15 north of Idaho Falls to the Montana border was closed. Interstate 84 in Cassia County was closed south to the Utah border. Sections of U.S. Highway 20, 25, 30, 32, 33 and 47 were also closed due to the storm.
In anticipation of the storm, Blackfoot, Snake River, Aberdeen and Firth school districts all cancelled school Tuesday. Shelley schools are out all week for Thanksgiving break. Blackfoot, Snake River and Firth school districts will begin Thanksgiving break today and return to school Monday.
The Idaho National Laboratory also closed Tuesday.
The Idaho Transportation Department was reporting traffic accidents throughout the region. Surfaces were covered in ice and snow, and blowing slow reduced visibility. ITD crews are working 24 hours a day to clear roads, but high winds are forecast for today which is expected to create ongoing blowing snow.
A rush of cold arctic air is expected to follow the storm. High temperatures today are forecast to reach just 7 degrees with wind chill values as low as minus 20 degrees. The overnight low tonight is expected to reach minus 10 degrees, with wind chill values as low as minus 28 degrees. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph will continue into this evening, tapering off overnight.