Snow

A powerful winter storm system from the southwest is expected to make full landfall in the Wood River Valley Wednesday, Jan. 26, delivering up to two feet of fresh snow through Friday.

The weather pattern prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning early Tuesday morning for the entire Wood River Valley and sections of Custer County, effective 11 p.m. Tuesday through 5 a.m. Friday.

Banner Summit, Galena Summit, Copper Basin and Picabo will also fall in the bull’s eye of the storm. Drivers can expect “heavy drifting of snow,” “near-zero visibility” and wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour Wednesday and “should consider changing travel plans if at all possible,” the NWS stated.

This particular storm system is classified as an “atmospheric river,” or a fast-moving band of warm water vapor from the tropics. The moisture plume will sweep northeast from the Sierra Nevada range, according to local forecasters.

In its Monday report, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center called this week’s forecast “a magic recipe for snowfall” for south-central Idaho. SAC Avalanche Specialist Ben VandenBos said the weather pattern and bend in the jet stream will strongly favor the Sun Valley area.

“This pattern appears to stay in place for a 48-to-72 hour period from Wednesday into the start of the weekend,” he stated. “As long as the Sierras don't rob us of all the moisture, we should have some powder days in our future.”

Up to three feet is possible in higher-elevation areas surrounding the valley, the Avalanche Center reported Tuesday.

“These areas have the weakest snowpack of anywhere in our forecast areas and will not be able to stand up to that sort of loading,” the center stated.

Sun Valley Daily Snow forecaster Steve Stuebner said on Monday that the snow is “expected to slow down a bit over the weekend,” with “another big dump” forecast for next Monday and Tuesday.

“Get your powder pants ready, polish up the goggles for the best visibility and go for it,” he wrote in a Tuesday forecast.

Temperatures this week should stay between the single digits and freezing point, according to the Weather Service.


Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday with additional information from the National Weather Service and the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

     A powerful winter storm system from the southwest is expected to make full landfall in the Wood River Valley today, Wednesday, Jan. 26, delivering up to two feet of fresh snow through Friday.

     The weather pattern prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning early Tuesday morning for the entire Wood River Valley and sections of Custer County, effective 11 p.m. Tuesday through 5 a.m. Friday.

     Banner Summit, Galena Summit, Copper Basin and Picabo will also fall in the bull’s eye of the storm. Drivers can expect “heavy drifting of snow, “near-zero visibility” and wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour today and “should consider changing travel plans if at all possible,” the NWS stated.

     This particular storm system is classified as an “atmospheric river,” or a fast-moving band of warm water vapor from the tropics. The moisture plume will sweep northeast from the Sierra Nevada range, according to local forecasters.

     In its Monday report, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center called this week’s forecast “a magic recipe for snowfall” for south-central Idaho. SAC Avalanche Specialist Ben VandenBos said the weather pattern and bend in the jet stream will strongly favor the Sun Valley area.

     “This pattern appears to stay in place for a 48-to-72 hour period from Wednesday into the start of the weekend,” he stated. “As long as the Sierras don't rob us of all the moisture, we should have some powder days in our future.”

     Up to three feet is possible in higher-elevation areas surrounding the valley, the Avalanche Center reported Tuesday.

     “These areas have the weakest snowpack of anywhere in our forecast areas and will not be able to stand up to that sort of loading,” the center stated.

     Sun Valley Daily Snow forecaster Steve Stuebner said on Monday that the snow is “expected to slow down a bit over the weekend,” with “another big dump” forecast for next Monday and Tuesday.

     “Get your powder pants ready, polish up the goggles for the best visibility and go for it,” he wrote in a Tuesday forecast. 

     Temperatures this week should stay between the single digits and freezing point, according to the Weather Service.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

Load comments