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Significant weather event may start Saturday night

Snow in mountain passes could hamper travel; frigid temperatures by Tuesday

State crews plow snow along U.S. Highway 95 in Grangeville (Free Press archive).

Photo by David Rauzi
State crews plow snow along U.S. Highway 95 in Grangeville (Free Press archive).

North Central Idaho could begin seeing the impacts of a big winter storm as early as Saturday night, Dec. 3, according to the National Weather Service office in Missoula, with significant snow amounts and frigid temperatures causing problems for travel.

According to a Dec. 1 video briefing by meteorologist Jennifer Kitsmiller, NWS Missoula, the storm will be in a series of impacts starting with a cold front moving through the region Saturday night and through Sunday, leading to substantial snow amounts – six inches to a foot in places -- in the mountains and mountain passes. Winds are forecast, so blowing, drifting snow will be an issue for some mountain passes.

Watch NWS Briefing

Watch the NWS Missoula briefing regarding the regional impact of this incoming winter storm:

Sunday evening and Monday, when the cold front moves in, motorists may see ice on roadways, and the low valleys may see snow, possibly heavy at times. This period is of concern due to rapid temperature changes, when all the valleys will be receiving snow, and moderate to heavy mountain pass snow. Widespread travel impacts are expected.

Monday morning, temperatures will drop off significantly with many areas dropping into the teens.

Monday night to Tuesday, the secondary push of artic air arrives along with gusty winds and possibly dangerous wind chill. Travel may be impacted on icy roadways. This could be another period of travel issues, with rapid temperature changes along with areas of moisture on roadways affected by flash freeze.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be the coldest period during this storm, with temperatures moderating Thursday and into the weekend, though it will still be cold enough to snow with more possible in the valleys and mountains.

How cold?

Frigid cold expected by Tuesday with initial forecasts of afternoon highs of 22 degrees in Grangeville, 29 in Riggins, 25 in Lowell and 19 in Elk City. Wednesday morning lows are forecast for 8 degrees in Grangeville, 6 in Riggins, 9 in Lowell and zero at Elk City.


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