The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Boise area through Sunday.
From 3 to 7 inches of snow is possible starting Saturday afternoon and lasting into Sunday evening, according to Joel Tannenholz, a meteorologist with the NWS.
The NWS expects the temperature to drop to minus-11 degrees Friday night before warming to a high of 20 degrees on Saturday. Sunday’s high should be 31 degrees.
The record low for Jan. 7 is minus-14, set in 1959.
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On Friday afternoon, Ada County approved a local disaster emergency hazardous winter weather declaration for the next seven days. The declaration allows the county to activate all local disaster emergency plans and state emergency assistance.
Mayor Tammy de Weerd declared a state of emergency in Meridian late Friday afternoon in response to the latest weather reports.
“With more snowfall expected, I issued this declaration because it gives the city the ability to dedicate resources for contractors, equipment and manpower quickly in order to protect the health and safety of our community,” Mayor de Weerd said in a press release.
Plowing and roads
Ada County Highway District says it has cleared most major roads and high-priority areas as of Friday afternoon, and expects to have most neighborhood streets plowed by noon Sunday, according to a news release.
The agency said it has cleared 95 percent of school routes. It still has to do center turn lanes and right- and left-hand turn pockets on major and mid-sized roads.
ACHD earlier this winter said residential streets were a low priority, partly because it didn’t have enough resources to tackle both them and more major roads early on. With most larger roads complete, the agency said Friday its goal is to get one plow pass down the center of most residential streets — excluding cul-de-sacs, which its plows are too big for.
This weekend’s new snowfall could affect the Sunday plowing projection, ACHD said. And plowing could cover up sidewalks and driveways again, the agency warns, so be prepared for that.
Along with ACHD’s equipment fleet, the city of Kuna is using two backhoes and a small loader to clear its downtown streets, and Boise and Meridian are both clearing sidewalks and storm drains. The Idaho Transportation Department is helping clear snow at intersections of state highways and local roads — along Chinden Boulevard, for example.
Boise has several plows up and running, helping ACHD on residential streets. The city said Friday afternoon it has also cleared most Downtown sidewalks, crosswalks and on-street parking between 5th and 10th streets and State and Front streets.
Now Boise will focus on State to Myrtle and 10th to 16th. This is important: Any cars parked in that area over the next 48 hours will be towed and their owners ticketed. City officials say the no-parking area will be well marked.
Residents are still encouraged to use Boise’s downtown garages, which will offer free parking until 5 a.m. Monday.
In Nampa, the plowing focus has also now turned to residential streets. “Crews will continue to address subdivisions and residential areas Saturday unless another snow event occurs,” states a news release from that city.
Currently, Boise, Nampa and ACHD officials believe any flooding from warming temperatures will be small and localized. They advise you clear snow and ice out of street gutters and away from drains or catch basins to minimize any damage.
Nampa said it is dispatching “preventative crews” to clear important storm drain lines and catch basins.
ACHD is coordinating with Boise, Meridian and Garden City; Ada County; Ada County Emergency Management and the Idaho National Guard for flooding response. Equipment at the agencies’ disposal to clear water and unblock clogged areas include vacuum trucks and vacuum sweepers, the plows and backhoes.
Advice for residents
▪ Clear snow away from fire hydrants so first-responders have clear access to that equipment.
▪ Also, clear gas meters and furnace vent areas. A buried or iced-over natural gas regulator can become clogged, affecting the supply of gas. When the snow melts and becomes more wet and heavy, it can put pressure on the meter and piping, warns Intermountain Gas.
Find more information
▪ Check the Ada County Highway District cameras for current conditions.
▪ Check here for statewide road conditions.