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With first snow comes record rainfall

October 11, 2018

The first snow of the season hit many areas of Idaho on Tuesday night, and many lower elevations got record rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Areas that avoided the snow and set rainfall records included Pocatello, with 0.43 inches, Burley, with 0.76 inches, Challis, with 0.23 inches and Stanley, with 0.54 inches.

The central mountain areas received the heaviest snowfall, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jack Messick. However, Howl Canyon in southern Cassia County received the most snow, about a foot.

Additionally, Ketchum received about 5 inches, some areas in south Bannock County got 4.5 inches, and Island Park saw half an inch.

Pomerelle Mountain Resort, which is 30 miles northeast of the Utah-Nevada border near Albion, reported about 13 inches of snow.

Messick said the Scout Mountain area was just a little too low and likely received only rain.

Messick said the timing of this first snowfall was neither earlier nor later than average.

“It’s about on par for the mountains to start accumulating snow this early,” Messick said. “Usually by the end of October, about half the time Pocatello has snow sticking on the ground.”

Messick said while the snowfall would continue on the mountains over the next 24 hours, it would be at a much lower accumulation rate, and by Thursday afternoon, it should start melting.

“It should be a beautiful weekend,” Messick said. “Not many clouds in the sky, and it should dry up considerably Friday and Saturday.”

Temperatures, however, will remain low, and some areas, including Pocatello, are expected to see below-normal temperatures for this time of year.

Pebble Creek Ski Area near Inkom was also among the areas to receive snowfall.

Dana Kmetz, the marketing and guest services manager at Pebble Creek, said they received about 3 inches of snow at the top of the mountain and around an inch at the base. She added that the snow at the base had already begun melting by Wednesday afternoon, despite the snow continuing to fall until late Wednesday morning.

Kmetz also said that the timing was average for the first snow of the season, adding that it was “perfect timing” for the ski season.

“We want the moisture to be able to settle into the ground because that’s what freezes and creates a good base for this snow to come and stick to that frozen ground,” Kmetz said. “So it’s right on schedule for what we need.”

Kmetz said the ski area will likely open in early December, with a tentative opening date of Dec. 7, depending on snowfall.

With the first snow, Messick wanted to issue a reminder to use caution in winter weather.

“If people are planning travel, especially at higher elevations, they should always be ready for snow,” Messick said. “If there’s snow on the roadways, you need to slow down.”

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