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How to get the latest word on weather and road conditions.

How to get the lates word on weather and road conditions

Capricious spring weather is a teaser: beautiful and beguiling one hour, it can turn on you to next, blowing up dust stoms, raining on your picnic, or closing mountain passes with snowfall. Just where can you turn for 11th-hour information on weather and road conditions?

Here, we list public agencies that provide help in each Western state. road reports are updated frequently: the faster conditions change, the faster the updates (Caltrans changes its recorded messages several times each hour when necessary).

Weather forecast generally give a short-range preview. One forecaster told us his office focuses on conditions during the coming 16 hours--the maximum most people would be likely to drive in a day.

State-by-state weather

and road information

All Western states issue reports on road conditions. Most are recorded, and many let you select information with push-button phones> if you're using a dial phone, you'll have to listen to reports for the whole state.

Most major cities have National Weather Service offices with recorded forecasts> check the U.S. Government listings of your telephone book under Department of Commerce. For out-of-state weather, call directory assistance for the number of the National weather Service office in the city nearest your destination.

Alaska. The Department of Transportation has an excellent line that combines road, avalanche, and weather information> call (800) 478-7675 inside Alaska, (907) 243-7675 from outside.

Arizona. For statewide road reports, call the Department of Public Safetly at (602) 252-1010, ext. 7623. For road and weather conditions in northern Arizona only, call the department at 779-2711.

California. The state's Highway Information Network reports weather and construction for state and federal highways. You can call seven locations: Redding, (916) 225-3028> Sacramento, (916) 445-7623> Truckee, (916) 587-5005> San Francisco, (415) 557-3755> Oakland, (415) 654-9890> Los Angeles, (213) 626-7231> or San Bernrdino, (714) 888-6501.

For 24-hour updates on weather and snow conditions in the Sierra Nevada (including details on snow depth, avalanche information, cross-county skiing), call the U.S. Forest Service at (916) 587-2158.

For a number to call for local road condtions, look in the telephone book white pages under state listings for California Department of Transportation.

Colorado. For state road conditions, call the State Patrol and Department of Highways at (303) 639-1234. For roads within 2 hours of Denver, call 639-1111.

For statewide weather, snowpack, and backcountry avalanche information, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 236-9435.

Hawaii. The Department of Transportaion reports road construction delays and detours at (808) 536-6566.

Idaho. The Transportation Department lists statewide road conditions at (208) 336-6600. For southwestern Idaho only, call 376-8028.

Montana. for statewide road and weather reports, call the Department of Highways at (800) 332-6171 in state, (406) 444-6339 outside. For regional reports, call the road report number listed in the white pages under Department of Highways.

Nevada. Road conditions reports by the Department of Transportation, including road construction reports in the Reno-Sparks area, are at (702) 973-1313.

New Mexico. This is the only Western state shall still offers live information on road conditions. Call the State Police in Santa Fe at (505) 827-9300.

Oregon. The State Police and Highway Division pool their knowledge in a message at (503) 889-3999.

For snowpack and avalanche information for Mount Hood and Southern Washington Cascades, call 326-2400.

Utah. Statewide road conditions are reported at (800) 429-2400 in the state, (801) 964-6000 from outside.

Washington. The State Patrol keeps tabs on road conditions throught the state. Call (206) 690-7100 for reports on road and weather conditions (including a brief forecast) throughout Washington and the state of mountain pass roads, and for summary of Oregon road conditions.

For more detailed pass reports from the state Department of Transportaion, call 976-7623. For snowpack and avalanche reports for the Cascades and Olympics, call 526-6677.

Wyoming. All state telephone books list local or toll-free numbers under Wyoming Highway Department (road and travel conditions). From out of state, call the Highway Department office in Laramie at (307) 742-8981.

National Weather Service

broadcasts cover the West

The West is covered by shortwave broadcasts from a number of National Weather Service Offices. Stations broadcast on frequencies in the 162.4 to 162.55 megahertz range of the public service band (an ordinary AM/FM radio won't pick them up).

Because they contain travelersh advisories, these broadcasts are often the most useful sources. Information is specific to local areas. Along the coast, for example, listen for marine forecasts> near the mountains, for pass reports of avalanche information> in flood-prone area, for flood-watch transmissions. Frost warnings, indicated for farmers, can help home gardeners.

Each broadcast consists of several tapes run in series and updated as necessary. For local weather information (rainfall, wind speed, and barometric pressure, for example), tapes might be updated hourly> weather forecasts, on the other hand, might be updated only every 6 hours.

You can buy radios that pick up only weather stations for as little as $20. More expensive ones are set to turn on automatically when a weather alert is broadcast.
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Date:Mar 1, 1991
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