January off to a snowy start after near-record December

A school bus drives through winter conditions in Boise in this Dec. 16 photo.
A school bus drives through winter conditions in Boise in this Dec. 16 photo.

The new year is off to a snowy start Monday morning, with 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation throughout the Treasure Valley, according to Boise’s National Weather Service meteorologist Katy Branham.

The precipitation could last through Tuesday morning as spotty storm cells move through the area, Branham said. By early morning, she said, a belt of moderate snowfall was leaving the area and lighter snow was expected into the afternoon and evening. That could lead to an additional 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation by Tuesday.

Don’t expect a repeat of the Christmas storm that dropped over 7 inches of snow, though. “That was hours upon hours of light snowfall,” Branham said. “This is quick-moving and light snow.”

Still, we could see periods of snowfall into the end of the week.

As for the near-record big chill that the NWS predicted last week? Some of that cold air seems to have missed us, Branham said, heading farther east instead. But “it may not be quite over,” she warned.

“By the end of the week, we could still see some subzero temperatures,” she said. Eastern Oregon could reach -10 to -15 degrees Thursday night into Friday, Bogus Basin will likely drop below zero and the Boise area may hit -1. Still, that storm system is showing some variety, the meteorologist said, so predictions could change.

Regardless, Branham urged people to check road conditions (as of 9 a.m. Monday, 511 reported no critical incidents statewide), practice winter driving safety and carry an emergency kit in their cars. There are also resources for power outages and techniques to avoid frozen pipes as the “big chill” moves through.

As for last month, when all was said and done, December 2016 neared records for both snowfall and cold in the Treasure Valley, according to NWS Boise. The Weather Service said, with an average temperature of 23.3 degrees, last month was the sixth coldest December since record-keeping began in 1875. And with 14 total inches of snowfall, December 2016 clocked in as the eighth snowiest since record-keeping began in 1898.

That put us almost 7.5 degrees colder than average and boosted us 7 inches of snow above average.