After Thursday's storm, long-range forecast suggests more snow in the mountains next week


Keep the snow dances coming, folks!

After an unusually dry start to the season, it looks like Old Man Winter may finally be showing signs of his old self again. After Tuesday's storm brought five to six inches to several ski areas in the region, another round of wet weather is swinging through on Thursday.

The better news: There's more on the way for the mountains next week.

Breaking it down: Thursday's storm

In the Treasure Valley, scattered showers will carry on through the day and possibly into the evening, with otherwise mostly cloudy skies. Highs will stick in the mid 40's this afternoon, meaning the valleys will see primarily rain (and no accumulating snow). For our surrounding mountains, it should be a different story (and a much needed change, too):

Again, the hardest-hit areas should see anywhere from six to 12 inches of fresh snow by Friday morning. Mountain valleys like McCall, Idaho City and Sun Valley may just see a few inches, but mountains surrounding those areas will see more. Bogus Basin looks to bee on the lower end of the snow scale, with one to four inches possible (although I'm going to hope the storm tracks further south, giving them a much-needed boost). Brundage and Tamarack (and hopefully Sun Valley) should benefit most from this storm.

Winter driving conditions will be evident along Highways 55 and 21, along with other routes through western Idaho and into the Sawtooth mountains. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the Sawtooths and areas stretching as far south as Ketchum, where five to 11 inches could fall above 6,500 ft., and 12-20 inches could pile up on areas above 8,000 ft.

What's next?

After early Friday, we shut off the faucet, and a ridge of high pressure builds in for the long weekend. This will likely create a weak inversion in the lower valleys of southwest Idaho, so patchy morning fog and haze isn't out of the question over the weekend. However, I'm not expecting a serious inversion to develop.

On the flip side, the mountains should see more sunshine over the weekend, so plan for bluebird days on the mountains, with hopefully some fresh powder leftover from Thursday.

The long-range forecast:

The big picture here: Things look good... or, things at least look to be improving.

Confidence is growing that we'll see a "wetter-than-average" pattern developing again across the Pacific Northwest in the next 5-10 days. There's a lot brewing out in the Pacific, and it looks as if a couple of more potent storms could be setting up, ready to take aim at our region. Essentially, the ingredients for a series of storms are there, the question remains when and how those storms will impact us here in Idaho.

The tricky part with these long-range forecasts is not trying to pinpoint specifics too quickly, before computer models begin to agree on things like a storm's track or potential impacts. From what I can tell right now, we have at least two storms on the horizon that I hope will spell out a good scneario for the mountains. The first storm looks to move in sometime late Monday through late Tuesday, bringing rain showers to the lower elevations and possibly significant snow to the mountains above 4,000-5,000 ft.

The next storm that wants to move in later in the week looks colder and wetter, meaning it could likely bring even more snow with it to a wider portion of our forecast area. Snow levels look to drop toward the valley floor with that second system, but it's too early to say how much if any snow could fall in the Treasure Valley next week. However, the mountains could be on track to see one or two feet of new snow over the next week or so if all things line up the way it is looking like they could. STAY TUNED, and keep your fingers crossed (at least for snow in the mountains).

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