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Winter Driving Conditions Have Arrived in Grand Canyon National Park

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Date: December 7, 2009
Contact: SHANNAN D. MARCAK, (928)638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – With snow already falling and a winter storm warning in effect through the evening, winter driving conditions have arrived in Grand Canyon National Park.

Currently, Hermit Road, also known as the West Rim Road, is closed due to poor visibility and deteriorating driving conditions. All other roads in the park are open, but are snowpacked and icy at this time.

The current weather forecast calls for increasing snowfall throughout the day with accumulations of 12 – 24 inches possible by morning. Additionally, winds in the area are also expected to increase throughout the day resulting in near blizzard conditions at times this evening and into Tuesday morning.

Visitors are advised to use extreme caution if they choose to drive to or within the park.

The National Park Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office make the following winter driving recommendations:

Take your time and be patient. Allow extra time to get to your destination.

Always accelerate and decelerate slowly to get the best traction.

Do not turn abruptly. Turn and change lanes slowly and gradually.

Increase the distance between you and the traffic ahead of you, allowing plenty of time to brake and steer around hazards.

Posted speed limits are set for normal road and driving conditions. Snow and ice are not normal. Slow down.

Use your low beams in blowing and heavy snow.

Take time to properly defrost all windows before driving.

While the North Rim of the park is closed for the season, the South Rim remains open year-round. So, winter visitors to the park should be prepared for winter driving conditions at any time. Throughout the winter, visitors can expect roads to be periodically snowpacked and icy and should be prepared for temporary road closures as winter storm systems pass through the area.

For current road and weather information in Grand Canyon National Park, please call 928-638-7888 and follow the prompts. For current road conditions in Arizona, go to http://www.az511.com or dial 511 or 1-888-411-ROAD (7623) on your phone. To download the Arizona Department of Transportation’s free brochure "Know Snow" on winter driving preparedness, please go to:
http://www.azdot.gov/knowsnow/PDF/Know_Snow_Brochure.pdf 

Did You Know?

JOHN HANCE, GRAND CANYON PIONEER

John Hance, early Grand Canyon guide and storyteller, said of the Canyon, "It was hard work, took a long time, but I dug it myself, with a pick and a shovel. If you want to know what I done with the dirt, just look south through a clearin' in the trees at what they call the San Francisco Peaks." More...