The Idaho side of U.S. Highway 12, which snakes through the mountains into Lolo, Montana will be shut down starting at 8:00 P.M. this evening, Wednesday January 9.

"The snow pack is unstable and volatile, we're just closing it down as a preemptive measure, there have been no slides, but we do this on a lot of our routes: close them down as a preemptive measure for safety, so that no one gets trapped in there when an avalanche does come down," Said Idaho Department of Transportation Communications Officer Reed Hollinshead.

The closure of Highway 12 could go on for quite some time, especially if the precipitation keeps coming.

"Probably, at the very earliest, U.S. 12 would open back up on Saturday, but we're expecting some pretty significant rain over the next few days and the temperature is warming up, It's probably not so good for the stability of a slide area," Hollinshead said.

Hollinshead said the Department of Transportation may blast the snow pack to try to trigger an avalanche during the closure if conditions worsen, but that that would be a last-ditch effort.

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