IDAHO FALLS — The snow storms aren’t going away — and there may be flooding too.
The National Weather Service in Pocatello has extended this weekend’s winter storm forecast through Monday morning and officials say more rain and snow is likely every day in the upcoming week in eastern and central Idaho.
Starting this afternoon, a warmer, moisture-laden storm will move into south-central Idaho bringing snow and freezing rain. By Saturday evening eastern Idaho, southern Montana and western Wyoming will begin to see precipitation, according to the NWS storm alert.
The warm air from the storm combined with the cold air already over eastern Idaho is expected to cause freezing rain Saturday night and Sunday that will create treacherous roads as layers of ice develop on its surfaces.
Snowfall is expected to intensify on Sunday morning. Heavy snowfall is expected at elevations about 7,000 feet and moderate snowfall below 7,000 feet. The one exception will be eastern Magic Valley and a portion of the Lower Snake River Plain near American falls. This area can expect a mixture of rain and snow.
Due to the warmer nature of these storm systems a significant portion of southeastern Idaho — Bannock, Caribou, Power, Oneida, Franklin and Bear Lake counties — is under a flash flood watch. Some parts Lemhi and Custer counties are also under a flood advisory.
NWS officials say a combination of snowmelt and rainfall on top of frozen soil will create enhanced runoff, which may lead to flooding in low-lying areas. Higher water flows also are expected in waterways — stream and river basins could see potential flooding.
Due to the possibility for flooding the city of Pocatello is making sand and sandbags available for residents at the Street Operations shop located at 1080 South 1st Avenue.
“Anytime we see a forecast like this, the city takes it very seriously,” said Tom Kirkman, Street Operations Superintendent in a news release. “Ahead of the storm, crews with the Street Operations Department are preparing by clearing storm drains of snow and ice to help keep water flowing.”
Residents will be required to fill their own sandbags, if the need arises. If it becomes necessary, additional sand and sand bags will be moved to other locations in town, according to a city news release.
“If you see a storm drain is plugged, please feel free to ‘Adopt-the-drain’ and try to clear the obstruction,” Kirkman said.
If residents cannot unclog the drain, they are encouraged to contact the Street Operations Department at (208) 234-6250.
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com