Idaho County residents are expected to face more snow, severe winds and icy roads the rest of this week and into next week.
“Tonight [Tuesday] through Friday, we’re going to continue to see periods of snow showers,” said Alex Lukinbeal, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Missoula. “It will be continuous issues with driving conditions with the snow-covered roads."
Lukinbeal said that White Bird grade could see several inches of snow, while Cottonwood and Grangeville likely will receive about three to five inches in the next few days. Snow might even hit Riggins briefly Friday morning, he said, but the lower elevations will mostly see rain showers.
As of press time Tuesday, the Idaho Department of Transportation does not list any road closures in Idaho County. However, windy conditions are causing drifts on US 95 from Grangeville toward Lewiston, and falling-rock warnings are in place for State Highway 14 from Grangeville to Elk City.
US 95 and ID 55 toward southern Idaho are seeing significant snow pack and icy conditions along with high winds, reduced visibility and falling-rock dangers. IDOT is also warning about large animals being on the highways.
A few highways – US 20, ID 32 and ID 32 – in southern Idaho are closed or face blockages.
For updated information about Idaho’s roads, call 5-1-1 or visit the IDOT website: https://511.idaho.gov/
Lukinbeal noted that Dixie hit a temperature of –17 degrees on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 7. Grangeville sunk to –4 degrees the same day. Temperatures are not expected to drop that low this week.
“For the most part, this is more of a mild air mass,” the meteorologist said. “Temperature-wise, we’ll probably see highs in the mid 30s in most spots and the low temperature in the mid to upper 20s. It will be a little warmer in Riggins with highs in the mid 40s.”
Jerry Zumalt of Idaho County Disaster Management is advising people to be prepared for the winter conditions and their consequences.
"A loss of power, for instance, could be life threatening if restoration is delayed because roads are snowed shut,” Zumalt said. “Folks are good about checking on neighbors in town and outside the city environs, especially in Idaho County. But pay attention to the needs of the elderly and/or those who are dependent on a medical device continuing to work or their heat system continuing to operate.”
Although the area has seen significant snow fall and low temperatures, the storms haven’t been as challenging as predicted.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate that some of the winter storm warnings haven’t materialized to the extent forecasted, but we should all stay vigilant and prepared, as best we are able,” Zumalt said.