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Warm storm brings snow to Pebble Creek, high elevations

January 17, 2019

INKOM -- Local skiers and snowboarders needn’t worry that a storm that brought heavy rainfall on top of snow in the Pocatello area will ruin their winter fun.

Though rain was falling on snow in the Portneuf Valley Thursday morning, temperatures were slightly above freezing at the base of Pebble Creek Ski Area, so the precipitation further padded the snow base.

Officials at Pebble Creek said they received 3 inches of new snow near the top of the mountain as of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, with heavy snowfall continuing. The accumulation is in addition to 5 inches that fell at the top of the ski area throughout Wednesday.

The snow depth at the base was 24 inches Thursday morning. Snow is in the forecast throughout the week.

According to the National Weather Service, the forecast for Thursday in the Pocatello area is for rain, patchy and blowing snow between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and a high near 38. Rain and snow are likely before 11 p.m., when there’s a 50 percent chance of snow.

There’s also a 50 percent chance of snow Friday, with patchy and blowing snow expected after 11 a.m. and high temperatures near 33 degrees. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch is possible.

On Saturday, there’s a 40 percent chance of snow before 11 a.m., then a chance of snow and rain. New accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible. There’s a 20 percent chance of snow Saturday night and a 50 percent chance of rain and snow on Sunday, with snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

On Sunday night, there’s an 80 percent chance of snow.

Regionally, the National Weather Service warns the storm that started Wednesday and will continue into Friday will make driving conditions treacherous and has issued several winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories.

The National Weather Service said the storm will make for icy and potentially hazardous driving conditions. Motorists are being advised to use caution. Winds of up to 40 mph are also in the forecast and those gusts will result in snow drifts and reduced visibility due to blowing snow. Travel might become impossible in some of East Idaho’s higher elevation areas because of the storm.

The hardest hit areas are forecast to be Island Park, Palisades, Swan Valley and Victor, all of which are expected to receive up to a foot of snow late Wednesday night through Friday morning.

The Driggs, Tetonia, Ashton, Inkom, Arimo, McCammon, Lava Hot Springs, Downey, Swanlake, Thatcher, Soda Springs, Bone, Grace, Bancroft, Henry, Wayan, Montpelier, Georgetown, Paris, St. Charles, Preston, Weston, Dayton, Franklin, Arbon and Malad areas are forecast to receive up to 8 inches of snow late Wednesday night through Friday morning. It’s even possible some of those areas could receive a foot of snow, depending on the storm’s severity.

The Idaho Falls, Ammon, St. Anthony, Rexburg, Sugar City, Rigby, Dubois, Spencer, Mud Lake, Idaho National Laboratory, Atomic City, Arco and Craters of the Moon areas are forecast to receive up to 4 inches of snow late Wednesday night through Friday morning.

Although the Pocatello, Chubbuck, Blackfoot, Fort Hall, Shelley, Firth, American Falls, Aberdeen, Rockland, Raft River, Burley, Rupert, Heyburn, Paul, Declo, Holbrook, Albion, City of Rocks, Oakley and Malta areas are forecast to only receive up to an inch of snow late Wednesday night through Friday morning, sleet and freezing rain are also expected to fall on those areas making for very icy road conditions.

The city of Pocatello has issued a press release warning its residents about the strong potential for flooding in the city on Thursday because of that day’s expected precipitation and above-freezing daytime high temps. The city is taking the extra step of making sand and sand bags available to Pocatellans at its street operations facility, 1080 S. First Ave., to protect homes and businesses from the flooding.

“If it becomes necessary, additional sand and sand bags will be moved to other locations in town,” the city of Pocatello said in its press release.

Pocatello officials are especially concerned that ice clogged storm drains will cause flooding in the city on Thursday, so any resident who sees an obstructed storm drain should immediately contact the Pocatello Street Operations Department at 208-234-6250.

Elsewhere in the state, the central Idaho mountains including Hailey, Sun Valley and Stanley are under winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories calling for maximum potential snowfall amounts of 8 to 12 inches late Wednesday night through Friday morning.

Winter weather advisories are also in effect in much of south central Idaho including the Shoshone area as well as North Idaho because of the incoming storm.

Winter storm warnings and/or winter weather advisories are in effect in all of the states surrounding Idaho because of the storm as well.

Once the storm exits the region on Friday, snow remains in the forecast for East Idaho Saturday through next Wednesday. The weather service has not yet issued any estimates on how much snow could fall on those days from the additional storms passing through the region.

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