2014-3-1 Food to Stranded Motorists on Hwy 87
Late Friday, February 28, heavy snowfall between Island Park Lodge to the Montana line, combined with blinding and drifting snow from soaring winds, made it necessary for Idaho Department of Transportation to shut down US 20 from Ashton, ID to the Montana state line and Highway 87 from Idaho to Montana. Numerous vehicles including semi trucks became stranded. Vehicles also attempting to access Idaho from Montana via Highways 287 in Montana through Highway 87 in Idaho also became trapped in these harsh weather conditions. Wind chills occasionally dipping to 25 degrees below zero combined with zero visibility caused hazardous and dangerous conditions for stranded passengers. Many individuals had no provisions for food or water. At 2:00 p.m. the decision was made by FCSAR to prepare lunches for individuals that had been without food and water since the road closure. At 3:00 p.m. FCSAR, via snowmobiles, delivered the meals and water to the North end of the closure to stranded folks that had been without food or water for approximately 18+ hours. The unit had also received numerous reports of vehicles running short on fuel. They had gas and diesel available for individuals needing fuel to keep their cars running for warmth. Members were also prepared with snowmobiles to assist individuals with emergencies if necessary. They also provided food and water for unit members monitoring road blocks and assisting DOT with the road closure.