Commuters Monday should see wet roads with some big puddles and minor flooding, but higher-than-expected temperatures late Sunday melted much of the icy glaze that coated streets and sidewalks earlier in the day.
Still, the mess left by repeated snowfalls prompted numerous Treasure Valley schools to stay closed Monday, giving students a rare series of snow days.
The National Weather Service in Boise advises Treasure Valley drivers to expect light rain during the Monday morning commute, with large puddles from melting snow in some roads and black ice possible west of Caldwell. More snow and ice are reported on Canyon County commuter roads than on their Ada County counterparts.
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Sunday brought snow, then freezing rain, then plain old rain as temperatures surged past the freezing mark, a dramatic turnabout from record subzero temperatures two days earlier.
The icy glaze on roadways took a toll. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office reported 18 slide-offs, 43 stalled or stuck vehicles and 41 crashes, including two with injuries, on Sunday afternoon. “Nampa=sheet of ice,” the Nampa Police Department tweeted.
Some residents used Sunday to catch up on shoveling driveways and porches. Many churchgoers stayed home as dozens of churches canceled services.
The rain and melting brought some flooding to Boise late Sunday, including water at the River Street exit of the I-184 Connector and at the main Boise Public Library.
The freezing rain followed an ice storm warning for the lower Treasure Valley from the National Weather Service. Meteorologist Les Colin said cold rain would mostly be absorbed by snow, making him optimistic that major flooding that had worried authorities could be avoided.
“I don’t think it will produce a flooding event,” he said Sunday morning, and by Sunday night no major floods were reported.
A warm front pushed temperatures in Boise up nine degrees in 10 minutes around 12:40 p.m., the National Weather Service said. The thermometer peaked at high 43 degrees at 6 p.m. — about 10 degrees higher than expected. The high represented a 54-degree climb from Friday night’s record-low -11.
“As long as we keep the cloud cover, and we expect we will, and with the southeast winds we should stay above freezing,” said Joel Tannenholz, another National Weather Service meteorologist, on Sunday night.
The rain-on-snow fell as high as 7,900 feet elevation across southern Idaho. It melted part of the mountain snowpack but had not caused rivers to rise or led to serious landslides by Sunday night.
Th weather service predicts the Treasure Valley will get rain and snow for the next few days. By the end of the week, the Valley will receive “a surge of cold air, but not as cold as it was (last week),” Colin said.
School and other cancellations
Sloppy roads and other weather-related problems caused many school districts to close Monday.
▪ Bishop Kelly High
▪ Boise School District
▪ Caldwell School District
▪ College of Idaho (Late start: 9:30 a.m.)
▪ College of Western Idaho (Late start: 10 a.m.)
▪ Emmett School District
▪ Fruitland School District
▪ Gem Prep
▪ Heritage Middle School
▪ Homedale School District
▪ Horseshoe Bend School District
▪ Idaho State University, Meridian (Late start: 10 a.m.)
▪ Kuna School District
▪ Legacy Charter
▪ Marsing School District
▪ McCall-Donnelly School District
▪ Melba School District
▪ Middleton School District
▪ Nampa School District
▪ New Plymouth School District
▪ Owyhee County Courthouse
▪ Payette School District
▪ Riverstone International
▪ Rolling Hills Charter
▪ Rose Hill Montessori
▪ Sage International School
▪ Vallivue School District
▪ Victory Charter
▪ Village Charter
▪ Weiser School District
▪ West Ada School District (Meridian, Eagle, Star)
▪ Wilder School District
Heritage Middle School in Meridian will be closed after it “experienced some significant flooding due to a broken pipe,” according to an email. The school’s library, eighth-grade hallway and cafeteria were affected. School officials said they plan to hold session on Tuesday.
Rolling Hills Charter School also had a pipe burst, causing that school to close too.
Do you know of a cancellation we’re missing? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update our list online.
Plowing and local roads
Parking remained free Sunday in Downtown Boise garages owned by the city’s Capitol City Development Corp. They were scheduled to return to normal paid operation at 5 a.m. Monday.
A state of emergency remains in effect Monday in Boise because of the snow, though major streets by Sunday had been plowed and most residential streets had received at least one pass of a plow from the Ada County Highway District.
Emergencies also remain in effect in Ada County and Meridian. Eagle Mayor Stan Ridgeway said he expects the Eagle City Council to declare an emergency when it meets Tuesday.
Emergency declarations let cities bypass some time-consuming purchasing and other procedures, and they let counties activate disaster plans and seek emergency aid from the state
The Idaho National Guard assisted ACHD in the snow cleanup through Sunday, using the opportunity to train personnel in snow removal for state emergencies. Some residents answered authorities’ call and pitched in to help clear snow from the openings of storm drains to reduce the threat of flooding.
Idaho and Oregon highways
Idaho’s 511 road-report system reported critical disruptions Sunday on State Highways 51, south of Mountain Home, and 78, which runs from Marsing east to Hammett. The state also warned of packed snow, icy patches and slush on Interstate 84 between the Treasure Valley and the Oregon border.
In Oregon, I-84 was still closed Sunday night from the Oregon-Idaho line to LaGrande westbound and from Pendleton eastbound, “due to extreme winter conditions (blowing snow, white-out conditions, slick roads, and snow drifts), several vehicle slide-offs, and people stopping in the roadway because they can't see ahead,” the Oregon Department of Transportation reported.
A power outage in the McCall area Sunday affected about 5,500 customers, including Brundage Mountain Resort. Idaho Power said the outage, whose cause was not immediately known, also affected customers in New Meadows, Lake Fork and Donnelly.
Brundage said it still had power from its backup system.
More than 3,000 people were without power late Sunday night in several outages near New Plymouth and Emmett.
The utility also reported an outage affecting 300 customers in New Centerville near Idaho City before power was restored Sunday afternoon.
Advice for residents
▪ Clear snow away from fire hydrants so first-responders have clear access to that equipment.
▪ 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.
▪ Rake, brush or sweep snow off roofs — from the ground, reaching whatever you can reach safely, not by climbing atop roofs — to curb the risk damage from water and ice backed up by ice dams at gutters.
Find more information
▪ Check the Ada County Highway District cameras for current conditions.
▪ Check here for statewide road conditions.
No roof rake?
Here’s how Wendy Stevens, of Boise, said she solved that problem Saturday:
“I made a roof rake by getting a 10-foot piece of PVC [pipe] and a dustpan that fit the PVC. I glued it together, then duct-taped it like crazy. My husband and granddaughter were able to scrape a great deal of the snow off our garage roof, about half way up. It held up well and is ready for the next round.”