A major winter storm that could dump over two feet of snow on Montana is forecast to make its way to East Idaho on Friday night.
While the early blast of winter is forecast to bring blizzard-like conditions including hurricane strength 80 mph winds to Montana, East Idaho is expected to be spared from most of the storm’s wrath.
But local residents will notice that conditions will feel much more like winter than fall here.
The National Weather Service said starting Friday night temperatures in East Idaho will nosedive with lows in the 20s and 30s. Starting Saturday night, East Idaho will receive rain and snow from the storm, though the weather service said it’s too early to tell just how much snow will fall.
Even East Idaho’s lower elevations such as Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, American Falls and Rexburg could see some snow Saturday night until the storm’s expected departure on Tuesday.
“We do turn drastically colder with this next big system that comes in Friday (night) into Saturday,” said Dawn Harmon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pocatello. “So this looks like it would be the end of whatever’s left of the growing season for East Idaho.”
Friday night through Tuesday night East Idaho’s nighttime temperatures are predicted to dip into the 20s and 30s. Daytime highs will likely be in the 40s and 50s Saturday through Tuesday.
The storm is expected to bring rain and snow showers to East Idaho Saturday night through Tuesday, with greater chances of snow at night and during the morning hours.
While East Idaho’s higher mountains have already received some snow this season, the region’s lowlands have not.
“It’s a pretty strong system,” Harmon said about the approaching storm. “It looks like it’s going to stick around for a little while.”
The storm is a sign that the march toward winter has begun.
Earlier this week the weather service issued its three-month outlook for October, November and December.
Harmon said the weather service is predicting that the average temperature for that time span could possibly be above average for East Idaho.
The weather service is also predicting that it is equally likely for East Idaho to receive above average, below average or average precipitation during October, November and December.
In other words, it’s anyone’s guess what type of weather East Idaho will receive as winter begins.
The annual Farmers’ Almanac is predicting that the upcoming winter in East Idaho will include “chilly” temperatures and “normal precipitation.”
The Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting a “frigid and snowy” winter in middle America, including Montana and Wyoming.