Snow

Credit Courtesy Idaho Department of Transportation

Underneath all that snow, ice, and tree debris is Idaho's Highway 21. Somewhere. This dramatic image from the Idaho Department of Transportation shows just how much work is ahead for road crews in clearing off a 12-mile section of the scenic road south of Stanley. That orange dot near the middle of the image is an ITD crew member.

Cascade Raft and Kayak

The stretch of rain and snow across much of Idaho in the last few weeks has transformed what looked to be a terrible water year into a pretty good one. It’s not just farmers who are breathing easier now. Many in Idaho’s tourism industry, like whitewater rafting companies, rely on snowpack and stream flows as well.

water, snowpack, map
NRCS/USDA

The latest map showing the water content of Idaho’s snowpack reveals the state continues to make up significant deficits seen early this winter.

Idaho has 21 basins where the Natural Resources Conservation Service measures snow accumulation and then assesses how the water content compares to that of a normal year. As of Thursday, all but five are at 80 percent of their average, or greater.

The Boise River basin is at 95 percent. The Payette River basin is 94. Most areas in central, northern and eastern Idaho are now above 100 percent of their normal snowpack levels.

The Baker County Sheriff in eastern Oregon says two cross-country skiers died Tuesday in an avalanche in the southern Wallowa Mountains. Two others were seriously injured. 

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

Update, 6:41 a.m.: Bishop Kelly High School in Boise says it will close Friday.

Original post: The Treasure Valley is waking up to snow Friday morning. Forecasters say most of the region received one to two inches of new snow. 

The Northwest is finally getting a dose of the icy cold weather we've been hearing about this winter from the rest of the country.

Bogus Basin

Snow is coming to southern Idaho, lots of it. The National Weather Service says a “significant snowfall event” will start Thursday night and last through Saturday.

The snow comes from a combination of moisture from the Pacific and an upper level low pressure system from Alaska. It will bring prolonged snowfall, which could mean substantial snow totals in the mountains.  NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from the Oregon border East to Twin Falls, Idaho.

Here are the latest projected snow totals from the National Weather Service:

We all probably sort of knew this already, but a new map seems to show quite clearly that it doesn't take much snow to close schools in the Southern U.S. — and that it takes a lot to close them in the Northern half of the nation.

Winter Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are learning this month who will get to go to the Sochi Games next month. One snow making expert from Washington state is already there.

The snowpack in the Mountain West this year is at just a small fraction of its normal level. In fact, 2013 was the driest year ever recorded in many parts of California, and there's little relief in sight. But water managers are trying to squeeze every last raindrop out of Mother Nature with a technology developed in the state more than 50 years ago: cloud seeding.

Bogus Basin

Wednesday morning’s snow caused a lot of problems for Treasure Valley drivers, but area skiers now have a reason to celebrate.

Cold Weather Closes Some Idaho Schools

Dec 9, 2013
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The cold snap affecting Idaho has led some schools to cancel classes. 

Schools in Idaho Falls, Oneida County, Grace, Fort Hall, Blackfoot and others were closed in eastern Idaho, along with schools in southern Idaho's Jerome and Shoshone school districts.  Officials with the Boise School District warned parents that some buses were running late because of the cold snap.

Redfish Lake Camera Screengrab

The National Weather Service office in Boise grabbed a slick time-lapse video of Redfish Lake, Idaho over the weekend. The three-day lapse captured by the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association web-cam shows fog dancing across the lake and a glimpse of winter.

Snowflake
AMagill / Flickr Creative Commons

Snow is falling early in some parts of the state — including a couple of ski areas.

Officials reported snow at Brundage Mountain near McCall Tuesday and a light dusting atop the mountains at Bogus Basin outside of Boise.

Forecasters are calling for more snow the rest of this week with heavy, early-season dumps north of Ketchum. Meteorologists are predicting as much as 10 inches to accumulate near Galena Summit through Thursday.

Similar projections are being made for other parts of the state.

Nicholas D. / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s only July 22, but Lucky Peak Reservoir is already seeing the effects of a dry and hot season.

The Bureau of Reclamation has started dropping water levels in the reservoir, and is diverting the water for irrigation. Farmers in the Boise River watershed usually get water from the system around Labor Day. But with supplies at about 50 percent of normal, this year the diversion is happening five weeks earlier.

So what does this mean for recreation at Lucky Peak the rest of this summer?

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