COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — With forecasts calling for snow showers at Lookout Pass this weekend, the Idaho Transportation Department says their snowplows and drivers will be prepared to clear highways if the need arises.
The National Weather Service says snow will be likely on the pass on Saturday and Sunday, with up to four inches falling at some points. Mike Lenz, an ITD engineering staffer, called the forecast very rare for late September.
ITD plow drivers are prepared for a rare assignment as well. According to Lenz, transportation staff will be on standby to work around the clock and clear highways if need be this weekend. Crews normally don't begin 24/7 on call shifts until the start of November, Lenz said.
Department mechanics this week were putting finishing touches on ITD trucks and converting them into snowplows for winter use. Shipments of salt and ice-melt had also arrived at area ITD stations. Lenz called the measures typical, however, noting that the agency typically tries to have most of its snowplows ready for the winter season by mid-September anyways.
Some ITD construction departments could potentially be impacted by the early season snow, too. Lenz said some operations, like road repairs, could be delayed if ITD crews had to shift their focus to highway snow removal. Notably, the agency is working to quickly wrap up a road project in the Wold Lodge area.
ITD asks that drivers snow down and give plows space this weekend no matter how early and uncommon the snow may be.