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Get ready for a wild and interesting week in weather

Eastern Idaho is no stranger to mother nature’s fury. We regularly go from extreme to the extreme, with extra cold temperatures and large snow totals being our most recent acquaintance.

This upcoming week will be a major change from what eastern Idaho has seen recently. Instead of arctic cold, we’ll be seeing above average temperatures with rain for the lower elevations and more snow fall for the higher elevations. For those reasons, the national weather service in Pocatello has issued warnings for good portions of our region. Here’s a summary:

Flood Advisories for the low lying river areas of Lemhi County due to ice damming. Flash Flood Watches for the SE highlands and the lower elevations of Bannock, Bingham, and Power Counties due to potential rain/melting snow runoff. Winter Storm Warnings are in place for all of Blain, Custer, Clark, Fremont, and Teton counties, as well as in the highlands of Madison, Bonneville, Bingham, Bannock, Caribou, Power, Cassia, Oneida, Franklin, and Bear Lake Counties. Expect up to a foot of new snow in these locations above 6500 feet. Winter weather advisories for practically everyone else including all of Lemhi, Butte, and Jefferson counties, as well as in the lower elevations of Madison, Bonneville, and Bingham Counties. Expect 3-8 inches of new snow in these locations with rain showers mixed in between.

The warm up associated with this next storm will start Sunday afternoon into Monday. That means that many of the lower elevations (possibly as far north as Rexburg) will see above freezing temperatures and rain at times. Normally that’s not a bad thing, but with the ground remaining frozen, any rain that falls won’t soak into the ground and simply flow on the surface. Combine this with melting snow, and there is high potential for ponding and localized flooding (Hence the Flash Flood Watch).

Freezing rain is also a concern, particularly from Burley along I-86 to Pocatello. When the storm first moves in, the air higher up in the atmosphere will warm up before the air near the surface creating a temperature inversion. Any rain that does fall has the potential to chill to the point of freezing causing it to freeze instantly when it hits the ground, hence the term freezing rain. This however, is still up in the air, literally.

Winds are also supposed to increase by Sunday afternoon, getting rid of the cold surface air we currently have. The wild-card factor is when that wind will get here. If the winds pick up early and mix the cold air out quickly, freezing rain won’t be as big of concern. If the winds take their time, it could become a big factor. Either way, any rain on the cold ground will cause slick conditions, so drivers (especially along I-86) should use caution.

Once this Sunday/Monday storm moves out, another brief storm will blow in Tuesday, followed by a third storm on Wednesday. Both of these storms will bring back the sub-freezing temperatures and winds, meaning snow and blowing snow will be much more common.

If you’re wondering when the region will get any relief at all, Thursday evening into Friday are looking calmer, with only a slight chance of a snow shower.

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