MOOSE, Wyo. — Grand Teton National Park staff are preparing for another significant winter weather event. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the area which forecasts winds from 15 to 20 m.p.h. and gusts over 30 m.p.h. tonight and tomorrow. This wind, compounded with snowfall, is expected to cause limited visibility and drifting snow.
With this forecast in mind, park staff caution travelers that Highway 26/89/191 between Moose and Moran junctions is anticipated to be in No Unnecessary Travel status beginning around 10 p.m. tonight or as conditions dictate. If conditions deteriorate, this stretch of highway may close beginning in the early morning hours and continuing for much of the day or longer.
Grand Teton Deputy Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail emphasized the importance of safety in the park's response to winter road conditions. "Public safety is our highest priority and we will plow Highway 89 between Moose and Moran as long as it is safe to do so. If the road does close, we will reopen it as soon as we can clear the snow and we will continue to keep the public informed as conditions change."
Travelers on park roads are encouraged to plan ahead before beginning their trip. Drivers should always check the weather forecast and current road status before departing. Grand Teton road information can be found by calling 307.739.3682. Frequent users of Highway 26/89/191 are also encouraged to sign up for Wyoming Department of Transportation's 511 Notify system at https://www.wyoroad.info/511/511NotifyAnnouncement.html.
The coming winter weather is also a good reminder for travelers to double check the status of their road emergency kit to ensure they have the essentials to survive a few hours stranded in winter weather. As road closures can sometimes prevent people from returning home for the night, it is also advisable to pack a change of clothes and other items to spend a night away.
The anticipated weather comes on the heels of another snowstorm which forced the closure of the highway between Moose and Moran for approximately 24 hours beginning Monday afternoon. The closure was necessitated by high winds which reduced visibility to zero and caused significant drifting between Teton Point Turnout and Snake River Overlook. Park staff were successful in plowing out drifts as high as five feet Tuesday morning and extricated a semi-trailer truck that violated last night's closure and became stuck. The road reopened at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Drivers are reminded that road closures are put in place for their safety when roads truly become impassable. Though driving conditions are often reasonable around the closure barriers in Moose and Moran, the conditions on the exposed stretch of highway in between are much worse.