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Driest winter on record for Pocatello valley so far

south pocatello mountains february 2021
Pocatello residents are in the midst of the driest winter on record, though area mountains are just below average for snowfall.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Neighbors in Pocatello haven't had to break out the snow shovel much this winter season.

The National Weather Service near the Pocatello Regional Airport has recorded the least amount of winter precipitation at the facility ever.

“Here in Pocatello, we just haven’t hit it right. Areas farther north and farther east have been getting more snow. The southern parts of Idaho have definitely been dryer, from Pocatello and areas south, along the Idaho/Utah border,” said Link Crawford, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

While people living in the valleys may be shocked with the lack of snow, the mountainous areas are just below the average snowpack for this time of year.

Pebble Creek Ski Area in Inkom had a slow start for their snowpack, but in the past week, Mother Nature gave skiers more than a foot of fresh powder.

In fact, the snowfall in high elevation areas should provide enough moisture to fill our reservoirs.

“The reservoirs for the Bureau of Reclamation, they’re expected to fill this year because of the amount of snow in the mountains,” Crawford said.

One concern the dry season brings is how it could impact the future fire season. Crawford said it's still too early to estimate how active fires will be in East Idaho, because there is still time for more snow.

“If we can keep that moisture going into the spring a little longer so we get a slower dry out in the summer, at least (fire season) will be slower to get started,” Crawford said.

A particularly dry winter season can actually benefit some area wildlife, like deer, according to Eric Freeman, with Idaho Fish and Game.

“There isn’t snow pack for the most part on a lot of these mule deer winter ranges, and that can cause fawn survival in particular to increase dramatically,” Freeman said.

But it's a fine line between too much water, and not enough. Storms are predicted to roll through East and Southeast Idaho in the coming week. Download the First Alert Weather App and tune in for meteorologist Michael Coats' forecasts on Local News 8 to stay informed on the incoming storms.

Idaho / Local News / Pocatello / Top Stories / Videos
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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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