Avalanche dogs from all over the West Coast travel to Utah to learn lifesaving skills

Dog teams from Colorado, Idaho and California learned how to rescue those trapped in avalanches.

(FOX 13) Dogs train in avalanche rescue in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Alta, Utah • When an avalanche happens, one invaluable tool is avalanche dogs and many teams from around the West coast get trained in Utah.

We’ve all heard the saying dogs are man’s best friend but in Little Cottonwood Canyon at the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue’s Avalanche Dog Training school there’s a group of dogs training to be more than just loyal companions.

“These dogs are a great tool for us,” Andy Van Houten, President of the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue said. “They’ve proven themselves valuable over the last several years as we’ve seen an increase in backcountry users.”

To read more about the dogs and their training, visit FOX 13.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.

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Travel Advisory lifted in west central MN | Local News

MnDOT reopens Highway 210, travel advisories lifted in west central Minnesota

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – (6 a.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol reopened Highway 210 from Highway 9 near Breckenridge to Interstate 94 near Fergus Falls. MnDOT has also lifted the no travel advisory on state and federal highways in Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin counties. Visibility has improved in these areas, however, there is still blowing snow and roads are partially snow and ice covered so motorists are advised to reduce speed and drive according to conditions.

Although driving conditions have improved, motorists should still use caution when traveling as strong winds and temperatures below freezing may cause slippery conditions and icy patches.

MnDOT snowplow operators are doing their part to make highways safe and motorists should remember to:

  • Check MnDOT’s road conditions map at www.511mn.org or call 511
  • Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off the cruise control.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don’t drive distracted.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.


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Men’s Basketball Travel to No. 8 West Liberty on Monday

BOWIE, Md. – The Bowie State men’s basketball team will begin the New Year with a road game at nationally-ranked and No. 8 West Liberty on Monday, Jan. 3. Tip-off at the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex is set for 4 p.m.


GAME 12 – Bowie State (3-8) vs. #8 West Liberty (10-1)

Date: January 3 – 4 p.m.

Location: ASRC – West Liberty, WV

Video: Click Here

Live Stats – Click Here

Social Media – Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 


About the Bulldogs

Bowie State (3-8) has won their last two outings, including a 97-93 overtime thriller against Bloomfield on Dec. 30. Graduate senior Tyler Jones (Pleasantville, NJ) topped four Bowie State double-digit scorers with 19 points. The Bulldogs turned in one of their best shooting halves of the season during the opening half against the Bears, shooting 69-percent from the field on 20-of-29 shots and an impressive 7-of-13 (54-percent) from the 3-point line. For the game, BSU shot 53-percent from the field, 41-percent from the 3-point line and 81-percent from the charity stripe while outscoring the Bears 42-38 in the paint.

Junior Quinton Drayton (Bowie, MD) is the team’s leading scorer with 13.0 points per game while Jones has a team-high 4.1 rebounds to go along with 11.6 points, respectively.

Scouting No. 8 West Liberty

The Mountain East Conference (MEC) member Hilltoppers welcome the Bulldogs to ASRC, having won their last six games capped off by an against Wilmington (DE) on Dec. 20. WLU’s leading scorer is Pat Robinson who averages 20.4 points per game while Bryce Butler adds 17.5 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per outing.

Recently, the Hilltoppers moved up to No. 8 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll. Monday’s game will also mark the non-conference slate for the WLU.

The Series

The Bulldogs and Hilltoppers will meet for the second time in program history but first in regular season competition. Bowie State and WLU met during the 2013 season where BSU fell 114-82 during the NCAA DII Atlantic Region quarterfinal on Mar. 16.

What’s Next

Bowie State will resume conference play with a road swing down south on Thursday, Jan. 6 at Saint Augustine’s in Raleigh, N.C. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

For the most up-to-date information on Bowie State University Athletics and its 13 varsity sports teams, please visit www.bsubulldogs.com.

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Pass closures prevent travel between east and west sides of Washington state

There’s no way to drive across Washington mountains until sometime this weekend, as the worst combination of snow and rain in many years has closed all four of the state’s winter highway routes between east and west.

A whiteout snowstorm early Thursday, followed by freezing rain and a half-foot or more of snow in the forecast, forced the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to close Snoqualmie, Stevens, White and Blewett passes.

These closures will delay freight moving across the Northwest, while ravaging the plans of New Year’s week travelers, on their way back to homes and colleges. Alpine resorts are blanketed in snow, a lot of it unstable, without the means for skiers to arrive.

WSDOT is telling the public it doesn’t expect to reopen the passes until Saturday, and that travelers should delay plans for at least a few days.

It’s been almost three years since a severe 47-hour snow shutdown at Snoqualmie Pass on Feb. 11, 2019, when a burst of four feet of snow in two days brought avalanche risks.

But it’s unusual — and maybe unprecedented — to close all four passes simultaneously for more than a few hours, effectively splitting the state into two. 

“I’ve been with WSDOT for 16 years and don’t recall a time when we had all four passes closed,” said regional spokesperson Meagan Lott, on the Snoqualmie Pass twitter feed. Three passes closed for a day as an avalanche precaution in January 2009.

White Pass rarely closes, but was under extreme avalanche risk Thursday. A section of Highway 12 through the pass collapsed in a late-2015 washout and another in fall 2013, reducing travel to one lane during reconstruction.

People desperate to drive can still try Interstate 5 south to Vancouver, turn inland at Highway 14 along the north side of the Columbia River Gorge, followed by a left turn at Goldendale over Satus Pass on Highway 97, into the Yakima Valley. Even that crossing requires chains on all but four-wheel drive cars. Oregon’s Interstate 84 through the Gorge is closed.

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma report exporters from eastern Washington and beyond are not able to get their cargo to the docks.

A big share of Washington state’s average $42 million per day of trucked cargo is stymied, said Sheri Call, president and CEO of Washington Trucking Association. Typically those include perishable products, such as tankers of raw milk heading for Longview via White Pass, or Issaquah via Snoqualmie Pass, she said.

“I’m kind of likening this to a mini micro supply-chain crisis,” Call said.

The town of Cle Elum, east of Snoqualmie Pass, declared an emergency based on “an unprecedented amount of snow,” encouraging residents to stay off the roads.

Snoqualmie Pass, the lowest of the four passes at 3,022 feet above sea level, received 236 inches this season as of Jan. 3, the most in 20 years.

WSDOT said trees are falling and avalanches could cover Interstate 90 at any moment. The road-clearing team plowed and removed trees east of Hyak but stayed away from avalanche prone areas to the west, Derrey said.

Normally there are between 12 and 20 workers per shift, and the group is down “a couple” under COVID quarantines this week, she said. Some road workers quit last fall rather than obey the governor’s vaccine mandate. But the immediate problem isn’t workforce, but extreme precipitation.

“We’re kind of on pause,” Derrey said midday Thursday. “It’s too dangerous even for our avalanche crews to get in and do assessments.” State officials said heavy snowfall and near-zero visibility have overwhelmed their crews.

The National Weather Service reported visibility of only a quarter-mile Thursday morning in heavy snow at Snoqualmie Pass. Forecasts called for rain later Thursday, followed by six inches to another foot of snow there on Friday and Saturday before the sun appears Sunday.

I-90’s shutdown affects not only the summit, but a full 72 miles between North Bend and Ellensburg. A resident at Snoqualmie Pass tweeted her thanks Thursday to officials who notified neighbors of the coming storm, so they had time to buy groceries and supplies.

After the Thursday blizzards, weather forecasts call for heavy rain, which could freeze or create a dangerous layer over the softer snow. WSDOT says rainfall “will increase the avalanche issues.”

After the weather calms, state crews will need hours to cut away downed trees, perform avalanche control work such as bombarding snow with explosives, and clearing icicles from overhead signs. WSDOT has even used World War II cannons to blast unstable snow, but it’s unclear whether they’re available and practical this week.

Ski resorts at Crystal Mountain, The Summit at Snoqualmie including Alpental, and Stevens Pass said they’re closed. It’s the latest snafu in a ski season marked by bumpy schedules, as Crystal Mountain has gone back and forth on reservations, and Stevens Pass is beleaguered by customer complaints about staffing.

At I-90’s Exit 34 near North Bend, a pair of state troopers blocked the rainy eastbound freeway. About 30 truckers parked on the shoulder Thursday morning, along with others in the nearby truck stop, but few cars arrived, as WSDOT’s widespread messaging led travelers to turn around sooner, or to stay home.

Pass closures illustrate the need for more and larger truck-parking facilities in Washington state, Call said. Her group advocates a privately-operated site on I-90 but those developments provoke community opposition.

Though extreme weather caused this closure, Call said the state shouldn’t have fired highway workers who resisted Gov. Jay Inslee’s Oct. 18 vaccination mandate. Call said policy is partly to blame for previous winter shutdowns. “Most of those workers, the plow drivers, are in the vehicle by themselves,” she said. The state has blamed blockages largely on bad drivers, and spun-out trucks without chains.

Inslee mentioned in passing “we’ve had challenges with snowplow drivers,” at his routine COVID news conference Wednesday. WSDOT officials said other factors, such as a national shortage of commercially licensed drivers are more significant, and the agency is training new workers.

Despite snow and ice east of the mountains, I-82 and I-90 remained open east of Ellensburg. But many areas presented stop-and-go conditions, with chains required in steep spots.

Information from photographer Amanda Snyder and assistant features editor Trevor Lenzmeier is included in this article.

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West Virginia Turnpike sees record-breaking holiday travel | Journal-news

CHARLESTON — The Christmas and New Year holidays saw record numbers of vehicles utilizing the West Virginia Turnpike, the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced.

During the 12-day period between Dec. 22, 2021, and Jan. 2, 1,263,779 vehicles went through Turnpike toll booths. The period includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays, which fell on the weekends.

“As always, the West Virginia Turnpike was well prepared for an increase in travel during this 12-day holiday period,” said Jeff Miller, Executive Director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority, who oversees Turnpike operations.

“We expected a high volume of travel based on the weather forecasts being favorable and the days of the week in which the holidays fell,” Miller said. “Our staff did a fantastic job keeping traffic moving through the toll barriers and I give credit to each department for their planning to make travel on the West Virginia Turnpike as safe and efficient as possible during this busy time of year.”

Holiday traffic on the Turnpike was up 27.3% compared to 2020, when 992,419 vehicles went through Turnpike toll booths Traffic was also up 7.7% compared with the 2019 holiday season, when 1,173,380 vehicles went through the toll booths during the same period.

Miller said the traffic counts set a record on the Turnpike.

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West Bengal Travel Update| The State Restricts Flights From Delhi And Mumbai, Details Inside

Due to the sudden surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, the West Bengal government has restricted flights from New Delhi and Mumbai. Both New Delhi and Mumbai are witnessing the largest surge in Covid-19 infections. To combat the spread of the pandemic in the state, the government has announced that the flights from New Delhi and Mumbai will operate only twice a week.Also Read – Chhattisgarh Imposes Night Curfew; Bans Processions, Rallies in All Districts | List of Guidelines Here

Travel agents believe this will cause a spike in air fares besides placing many fliers’ travel plans in jeopardy. Also Read – Mumbai Local Train: BMC Makes Big Announcement For Commuters, Says Curbs Won’t Be Imposed For Now

West Bengal chief secretary HK Dwivedi said that starting January 5 flights from these two metros will be allowed only on Mondays and Fridays till a decision is taken after reviewing the pandemic situation. Also Read – 83 Kolkata Police Personnel Test Covid Positive; 47 In Home Isolation, 16 Admitted to Hospital

The top state bureaucrat also said that from Monday the government has decided to temporarily suspend direct flights from the UK where Omicron variant of the coronavirus is creating new records infecting thousands, as a part of its restriction programmes.

“Flights from New Delhi and Mumbai will ply only twice a week. As a part of the restrictions, flights from these two places will be allowed to come to Bengal only on Mondays and Fridays,” Dwivedi said while holding a virtual press conference on Sunday.

Dwivedi said that rapid antigen tests have been made “mandatory” for passengers coming from non-at risk countries.

“We have temporarily suspended flights from the UK. And for passengers coming from other non-risk countries, we have made rapid antigen tests mandatory. If found positive then the concerned person will have to undergo RTPCR tests. This will come into force from tomorrow,” he said.

The Bengal government had on Thursday sent a letter to the union aviation ministry regarding its decision on temporarily suspending direct flights from the UK. Calcutta has only one, once a week flight connection with the UK which is operated by Air India.

Travel agents said the sudden decision would mean a spike in ticket prices. Krishna Ghosh, director of a Delhi-based travel firm GlobeAir, said “prices on the Delhi-Calcutta route average about Rs 6,000 one way now, this is sure to escalate to over Rs 10,000 one way.” Eastern India Chairman of Travel Agents of India (TAFI) Anil Punjabi said the government should bring in testing of all domestic sector passengers on arrival.

Airport officials, who did not wish to be named, said the government’s decision would only add to the woes of the passengers planning to fly to the state from these two metropolises.

“It will be a problem for all those passengers who already have their tickets to come to Bengal from New Delhi and Mumbai. Either they have to take another route to come here or reschedule their itinerary,” the official told PTI.

Travel agents said many of those coming to Kolkata from abroad anyway routed their flight schedules through other cities and added “domestic fliers too would follow suit.” The Chief Secretary however, said that there is no ban on passengers from the UK to enter the state through other corridors using other means of travelling.

“They can take other routes (domestic flights or trains) to come to Bengal,” he said. PTI

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Find sun and seclusion by beach-hopping on Puerto Rico’s west coast

My rental car shook violently as it slowly crept down the bumpy dirt road along the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico. When the road ended, I set out on foot up a dirt path that led to the gray-and-white Los Morrillos lighthouse, built on the edge of a cliff in 1882. The windows and doorways were the same shade of turquoise as the water crashing into the rust-red sandstone cliffs below.

The lighthouse was my first stop along Puerto Rico’s west coast in early November. After spending a few days of my first trip to the island exploring Old San Juan and nearby tourist sites, I fled the cruise-ship crowds and congested highways for the remote west coast’s narrow two-lane roads and secluded beaches. My goal was to explore this less-crowded part of the island, known for surfing, hilly terrain and an endless surplus of sunny, 80-degree days. Learning to surf was another priority, but rough seas with waves too big for my novice skill level crushed those plans. Instead of a surfing trip, this would become a relaxing 10-day beach and hiking trip.

From the eastern side of the lighthouse, I could see stretched out below a pristine, crescent-shaped beach that belonged in a Jimmy Buffett song. I walked across the undeveloped, tree-lined beach and followed a trail up another set of cliffs to photograph the lighthouse from across the bay. Then, I couldn’t resist a dip in the water to cool off. Even though a dozen people were on the beach, it still felt isolated. It was only Day 1, and I had already found my favorite beach in western Puerto Rico: La Playuela.

After another bone-rattling drive, I stopped at the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats and walked along the catwalks between reddish-pink salt ponds. The 1,249-acre area was added to the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge in 1999 and includes trails for biking and hiking around the two main lagoons, Fraternidad and Candelaria. A private operator harvests the salt, which is left behind when the water evaporates from exposure to the sun, wind and heat. The lagoons are home to a variety of microorganisms, including Dunaliella salina, an alga responsible for the red hue.

“Although it is a green alga, it creates a large amount of carotenoids (beta-carotene) to survive and protect themselves against the intense light,” Ana Roman, deputy project leader at the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, said in an email. “High concentrations of carotenoids (red-orange pigment) are what creates the pink color effect in the salt flat ponds.”

The water of the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats has a reddish hue because of an alga called Dunaliella salina.

The water of the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats has a reddish hue because of an alga called Dunaliella salina.

(Anna Mazurek / For The Washington Post)

This alga is a critical food source for brine shrimp and other salt-tolerant species, which attract migratory shorebirds. The salt flats, with their prevalence of food, are one of the most important stopover points for these birds in the entire Caribbean. Cabo Rojo’s lucrative salt-collection business has resulted in several historical conflicts, according to Roman. There have been numerous ownership and exploitation issues involving not only the Spanish, who colonized the island after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, but also the British and Dutch, among others. In 1769, a bloody fight broke out between local communities over land ownership of the salt flats, leading the area to be named El Combate, which translates to “the battle.”

For another history lesson, I visited the sleepy town of San Germán, the second-oldest city on the island, after San Juan, known for its well-preserved colonial Creole architecture. Founded on the coast in 1511, it was moved inland to avoid plundering pirates in 1573 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The centerpiece is the 1692 Iglesia de Porta Coeli, one of the oldest church structures in the Americas, which was originally used as a monastery chapel but now houses a small museum.

After a morning of exploring, I drove about 13 miles to Joyuda, a three-mile strip of seaside seafood restaurants known as the Gourmet Golden Mile, for lunch. I snagged a table on the shaded waterfront patio at Náutica by Poly’s and ordered a delicious conch mofongo relleno, fried mashed plantains stuffed with conch and served in a tomato-based sauce. By the time I finished my meal, there wasn’t an empty seat on the patio, and the hum of both English and Spanish conversations filled the air.

The ocean got rougher as I headed north to Rincón, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic. The surfing haven covers about eight miles of coastline and skyrocketed to fame after hosting the 1968 World Surfing Championships, which earned it a mention in a Beach Boys song.

Domes Beach in Puerto Rico is a popular surfing spot in Rincón.

Domes Beach, named after a defunct, dome-shaped nuclear facility that dominates the skyline, is a popular surfing spot in Rincón.

(Anna Mazurek / For The Washington Post)

Because winter is peak surfing season, I watched experienced surfers ride large waves at Domes Beach, named after a defunct, dome-shaped nuclear facility that dominates the skyline. By 8 a.m., the parking lot was already overflowing, and there were 27 surfers in the water. Like many of Rincón’s beaches, Domes is a small, secluded, palm-tree-lined strip of golden sand stretched between cliffs and rocky outcroppings. One of the few exceptions is the seemingly endless Sandy Beach, which is bordered by rows of hotels and restaurants.

Another highlight was the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, home to the endangered reef-building elkhorn coral, as well as colorful marine life including parrotfish and blue tangs. The reserve encompasses three beaches and is an excellent snorkeling spot during the summer, when the water is calmer. The most photogenic of the three beaches is Steps, known for a mysterious set of concrete stairs sitting at the edge of the beach.

The beaches weren’t the only thing worth visiting in Rincón; the craft beer at Rincón Beer Co., fish tacos at Jack’s Shack and Sunday brunch at the English Rose were also pluses.

Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla has a party beach vibe.

Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla has a party beach vibe.

(Anna Mazurek / For The Washington Post)

Despite congested parking lots, the Rincón beaches never felt crowded. That changed when I drove about 14 miles north to Aguadilla’s Crash Boat Beach, famous for a uniquely shaped blue pier once used to dock rescue boats that were sent out to save downed pilots from the nearby U.S. air base. Food stalls filled the parking lot, and speakers were blaring. This was the party beach packed with locals and a few tourists.

The farther north I went, the rougher the water got; a riptide warning kept me out of the ocean for the rest of my trip. I decided to hike from Surfer’s Beach to Survival Beach, a sliver of shoreline accessible only by foot. I started my hike at the Surfer’s Beach parking lot and meandered through the tropical forest along a makeshift trail that spiderwebbed in all directions, staying on the path that hugged the coast. I shared the trail with a retired New England couple who moved to the island to perpetually escape winter.

The beautiful Survival Beach in Puerto Rico is only accessible by foot.

The beautiful Survival Beach is only accessible by foot.

(Anna Mazurek / For The Washington Post)

Lizards scurried into the bushes as I made my way to a section of beach filled with giant rock formations and caves reminiscent of a scene from “The Goonies.” Then I entered the forest again and climbed upward along a tree-root-lined path until I caught a bird’s-eye view of the windswept sands of Survival Beach. Despite trying numerous trails, the tide prevented me from reaching it. Regardless, these beachside trails and secluded coves became one of my favorite aspects of Puerto Rico.

After the hike, I treated myself to the mango salad at Ola Lola’s Tiki Bar & Grille, a mint-green, open-air eatery on a narrow, tree-shaded road that became my regular lunch spot. It was the exact kind of bar my 20-year-old self dreamed of opening on a tropical island.

On my last morning in Puerto Rico, I went for an hourlong sunrise walk on the beach in Isabela, on the northwest coast. Aside from a lone jogger’s, my footprints were the only ones in the sand as I walked along the water’s edge, past towering hotels that soon faded into trees. The gently sloping shore was one of the most expansive beaches I had visited, wider than many roads. Every day of my west coast road trip was spent at a different beach, and the island’s large size — about 3,500 square miles — made it easier to escape crowds and find solitude than the smaller Caribbean islands I’ve visited, such as Saint Martin, Anguilla and Saint Barthélemy.

After my walk, I reluctantly climbed in my rental car and drove to the airport listening to Jimmy Buffett. As a beach lover who loathes cold weather, I could envision many more winter trips to the island’s laid-back west coast.

If you go


Combate Beach Resort: Carretera 3301 Km 2.7 Interior, Cabo Rojo; (787) 254-2358; combatebeach.com

This expansive beach resort offers a variety of spotless rooms that sleep one to six people. Amenities include private beach access, pools, a sand volleyball court and a half basketball court. Kayak and bike rentals available for a fee. If you stay for three nights, the fourth one is free with their yearlong promotion. Rooms from about $109 per night.


Rincón Beer Co.: 15 Calle Muñoz Rivera, Rincón; (787) 280-8866; rinconbeercompany.com

Located in a colorful town square, this brewery serves up delicious bites, such as burgers and fish tacos, as well as tasty craft brews. Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Bar food from about $9, beers from $5.

Jack’s Shack: Rt. 4413 Km 0.5 Bo Puntas, Rincón (in front of Pools Beach); (939) 274-8066; facebook.com/jacksshackpr

The fish tacos from this food truck across from Pool’s Beach are some of the best in town. The owners focus on fresh, local ingredients. Open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food about $9 to $12.

The English Rose (La Rosa Inglesa): 413 Carretera Bo, Rincón; (787) 823-4032; theenglishroserincon.com/eat

The go-to brunch spot in Rincón is a villa on a hilltop that serves up breakfast favorites and mimosas with fresh-squeezed juice. Reservations recommended. Open 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Entrees from $10.50.

Ola Lola’s Tiki Bar & Grille: 332 Barrio Bajuras, Isabela; (715) 303-9938; olalolaspr.com

This mint-green, open-air tiki bar is a great place to grab a drink or a bite after a long day at the beach. Reservations recommended. Open 2 to 9 p.m.; closed Wednesday and Sunday. Cash or digital payment only. Entrees from $9, cocktails from $6.

The conch mofongo relleno from Náutica by Poly's in Joyuda.

The conch mofongo relleno from Nautica by Poly’s in Joyuda, a three-mile strip of seaside seafood restaurants known as the Gourmet Golden Mile.

(Anna Mazurek / For The Washington Post)

Náutica by Poly’s: 4 PR-102, Cabo Rojo; (787) 381-7659; facebook.com/Rest.nautica

Located on Puerto Rico’s Gourmet Golden Mile in Joyuda, this waterfront restaurant serves up mouthwatering seafood dishes and local favorites. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Tuesday. Entrees from $14.


Lighthouse of Los Morrillos: 301 PR Llanos Costa, Cabo Rojo; (787) 851-1025; caborojopr.net/faromorrillos.htm

A bumpy dirt road leads to a parking lot that’s a short walk to the historical lighthouse, which is closed for remodeling. Also accessible by foot. Road open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but hours can vary unexpectedly. Free.

Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge: Rd. 301 Km. 5.1 Bo. Corozo, Boquerón; (787) 851-7258; fws.gov/refuge/cabo_rojo

The highlights of this scenic wildlife refuge are the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats and hiking and biking trails. The main visitors center and the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats interpretive center are closed because of the pandemic; check website for closures. Ungated trails open daily 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.


Details: discoverpuertorico.com

Mazurek is a freelance writer. This article originally appeared in The Washington Post.

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Weather forecast: Snow and cold will make for difficult post-Christmas travel for US West and North

Across the Intermountain West, “travel will remain dangerous and is discouraged, especially along mountain passes where long duration closures are likely. Dangerous avalanches are also likely in the Sierra Nevada, Washington Cascades, Northern Rockies, and Wasatch,” the Weather Prediction Center said Saturday.

Bitter cold in the coming days will impact states from Montana to Michigan.

“Dangerously cold wind chills. Wind chills as low as 55 below zero,” the National Weather Service office in Great Falls, Montana, said Sunday in an update. “The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 5 minutes.” The warning remains in effect until Monday afternoon.

Meantime, unseasonable warmth will continue to toast the South as wildfire risk stretches across the central Plains.

Avalanche warnings in 6 Western states

All this snow may be a ski lover’s dream, but it also covers roads and reduces visibility. Avalanche warnings were in effect Sunday for portions of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and California as recent heavy snowfall and wind have made for widespread areas of unstable snow.

Injuries reported in 20 car pileup during whiteout conditions in Nevada
“Avalanches may run long distances and can run into lower angle terrain typically thought of as safe,” the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center warned Sunday.
Large snow and rain systems have moved through Western states in the past few weeks, resulting in impressively high snowpack for California. The Golden State by Saturday had recorded 130% of its normal snowpack for that date; it had been at only 18% on December 1.
And more moisture is on the way for much of the West over the next several days. New snowfall will be measured in feet across the Sierras, Cascades and Rocky Mountains. A band of heavier snow has setup in the Seattle metro area Sunday, with snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches expected, with locally higher total possible.
Heavy rainfall is expected in lower elevations, possibly leading to localized flash flooding in places where the ground is saturated. Las Vegas, for example, has picked up 2 inches of rain since Wednesday — four times its December average. Rain is due to return there Monday, potentially mixing in with some snow on Tuesday.
More rain also is forecast for parts of the West Coast that saw heavy rain the past 24 hours. That includes areas of Santa Barbara County, California, and other northwestern Los Angeles suburbs, which just picked up over an inch of rain. A weather gauge near the University of Southern California campus reported nearly a 10th of an inch in just 2 minutes overnight Saturday, according to the NWS office in Los Angeles.

Frigid conditions for the Midwest

Snow will fall Sunday across the Upper Midwest, with accumulations of over a foot possible from the Dakotas through northern Michigan. Winter storm alerts have been issued for eastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Skier dies after being 'fully buried' in a Colorado avalanche
“Accumulating snow, along with potential drifting will make some roads nearly impossible to traverse,” the weather service office in Grand Forks, North Dakota, said Sunday. “As we head into Monday, blowing snow becomes more of an impact, with reduced visibility likely.”
As this system sweeps over the Great Lakes, lake-effect snow enhancements are certain as most of the lakes remain ice-free. Heavy lake-effect snow coupled with winds gusting to 40 mph will lead to near-blizzard conditions. Blizzard warnings could be issued, according to weather service in Duluth, Minnesota.
“Temperatures outside in the Northern Plains will be frightful this week,” the prediction center said Sunday in a tweet. “A large area will drop below 0F with some areas falling to -30F. Wind will make it feel even colder. Very limited exposure — if any — outside would be ideal.”

Even after this system moves through, the cold temperatures don’t let up.

Morning lows are forecast to be sub-zero across portions of Montana and North Dakota, with daytime highs Sunday struggling to get out of the single digits. By Monday morning, lows are forecast to be bitterly cold, potentially as cold as below 15 to below 25, and wind chills will be even colder.

Fargo, North Dakota, goes from a high of 25 degrees on Monday to a high of only 1 degree on Tuesday. Denver sees a similar drop, from 48 degrees Monday to 34 degrees Tuesday.

Warmth continues further south, as does fire threat

Remarkably warm temperatures remain anchored over the southern US and will continue into the first half of the week. Over 250 total daily record warm lows and highs are expected to be broken in the next few days.

Temperature departures today will be warmest in the southern Plains, with highs in the 70s and 80s — 25 to 40 degrees above normal.

A “critical risk” of fire weather — level 2 out of 3 — is in effect across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and in eastern Colorado and western Kansas owing to the unusually warm temperatures, low humidity levels and windy conditions.

Sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph with gusts of 60 to 80 mph could lead to blowing dust and difficult travel conditions across these regions Sunday. High wind warnings and red flag warnings are in place.

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Singer and West End Frozen star Samantha Barks recalls her travel adventures

Singer and West End Frozen star Samantha Barks reveals that her favourite hotels are in St Lucia and the bit of the UK she loves most is the Isle of Man

Samantha Barks checks in to our travel Q&A

Samantha Barks checks in to our travel Q&A

This week singer Samantha Barks checks in to our travel Q&A.

She talks about why St Lucia is the perfect Caribbean island, and more… 

Earliest travel memories?

We used to go on cruises when we were young. The first was a Mediterranean one with my parents when I was about ten.

First time on an aeroplane?

When I was four. I’m from the Isle of Man so I’d be on the plane all the time if we were going to England or to visit my mum’s family in Dublin.

Favourite restaurant?

At the Mirihi Island Resort in the Maldives. The food was out of this world. The vegetarian curry was the best I’ve ever had and they even taught me how to make it.

Favourite hotels?

They are in St Lucia. Jade Mountain is luxurious and beautiful and down the road is its sister hotel Anse Chastanet, which has more of a treehouse vibe. I’ve also stayed at Windjammer Landing. You get a villa experience but are also part of a resort and a community.

Samantha says her favourite hotels are in St Lucia in the Caribbean. Pictured are the island's iconic twin Pitons

Samantha says her favourite hotels are in St Lucia in the Caribbean. Pictured are the island’s iconic twin Pitons 

Essential travel item?

My phone charger. Once you’ve got that, you’ve got access to all your travel stuff.

Favourite part of the UK?

The Isle of Man. Laxey is where I grew up. I love it.

Last holiday?

Chianti and Florence in Italy. We stayed in a couple of Airbnbs, one was overlooking the Duomo. I love Italian food, people, the culture. 

Samantha recalls her recent trip to Florence and having a view of the famous cathedral (pictured) from her Airbnb

Samantha recalls her recent trip to Florence and having a view of the famous cathedral (pictured) from her Airbnb

You are Elsa in Frozen. Have you been to Scandinavia?

When I was younger we did a cruise around the fjords. It’s outstanding the way they get through those narrow passages.

Top travel tip?

Keep calm and write a list. Leave plenty of time to get to the airport. 


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