The National Weather Service’s Boise branch on Monday morning issued a warning for some south-central Idaho counties: lightning during the afternoon and into the evening will cause “critical fire weather conditions.” At the same time, the National Weather Service in Great Falls, Mont., issued its own warning, which extended into Idaho: Mountains in the Salmon area could see as much as a foot of snow through Friday.
Both warnings were spurred by the same storm.
An Idaho-centric joke page shared the forecast on Facebook, prompting some Idahoans to groan (and fear a repeat of last winter, as the Old Farmer’s Alamanac has predicted) and others to cheer in the hopes that cold, wet weather would douse some of the region’s massive wildfires.
“Best. Fire. Control. Ever!” wrote one commenter.
“So much for fall weather,” said another.
According to NWS meteorologist Dave Groenert in Boise, the winter storm warning isn’t unheard of for this time of year.
“As you get into late September, you start seeing these systems,” Groenert said. He added that snowfall is expected in elevation of 6,500 feet or higher.
What’s slightly more unusual is one storm causing both types of extreme weather, according to Groenert, who called it “a dynamic system.” The very cold weather, he said, is the front of the storm, while the tail end is throwing thunderstorms.
In Boise, we’ll see a burst of chillier weather this weekend. The snowfall isn’t likely to hit our mountain peaks anytime soon, though, Groenert said.
Idaho and Montana aren’t the only states seeing strange weather dynamics. Oregon, where the Eagle Creek Fire continues to burn, has an advisory for freezing weather that could damage crops.