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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: weather

Time to gear up for winter: It’s the 63rd annual Ski Swap…

As the seasons change in Boise, there are a few sure signs each year that winter is on its way. First, the leaves turn, which they did in spectacular, fiery fashion this year. Then, there’s the Ski Swap – and it’s arrived. This year is the 63rd annual Boise Ski Swap, a benefit for the Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation; equipment check-in at Expo Idaho started at 3 p.m. on Halloween, and the swap opens to buyers at 5 p.m. on Friday. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10-8 Saturday and 10-3 on Sunday; it’s a place to find deals on ski or snowboard equipment for the family, outfit the kids, sell off outgrown gear and get ready for the season, with exhibits from everyone from the resorts to the volunteer ski patrol. Admission is $5 on Friday, $3 on Saturday, and either $3 or a can of food on Sunday; kids under 12 are admitted for free. There’s more info here.

The next sign of winter is on the way: The annual Warren Miller ski film, which is coming to Boise’s Egyptian Theater Nov. 21-23. This year’s flick is entitled “Ticket to Ride.”

Welcome back…

Welcome back, everyone. Hope you had a relaxing holiday weekend. This image here is from Payette Lake on Saturday.

When it’s 10 degrees and the heat goes out…

It is a chilly 10 degrees out in Boise, and Idaho Fish & Game reports that the heat is out at its headquarters on Walnut Street. As a result, they’ve closed their license desk for the day and are encouraging customers to visit vendors instead, or go the F&G regional office in Nampa. “We expect to be open for business tomorrow,” said F&G Deputy Director Sharon Kiefer. “Our apologies to license buyers!”

Up where the air is clear…

While we shiver and sniffle in the frigid temperatures of the inversion-plagued Boise valley, there's a whole different world just 16 miles to the north at Bogus Basin. This view from the top of Chair 1 yesterday afternoon snows the smog-filled valley below in which the city is hidden. The non-profit ski resort's snow cover may be a bit thin, but it is just gorgeous up there. Yesterday, it hit better than 45 degrees with deep blue skies, bright sunshine and fresh, clean air. There were people skiing in sunglasses and no hats; everyone was shedding layers, unzipping coats and slathering on the sunscreen. Rock skis still are in order, and there are few runs they're now able to groom, but the terrain park is open on frontside to the joy of a whole lot of kids, and the snow is holding up beautifully in the Superior and Triangle areas on the back side, especially for those who enjoy skiing bumps. Best of all is the weather - it was really hard to leave yesterday and head back down the hill…

Now gracing Statehouse grounds: Snowman

As Idaho lawmakers head back to their districts for the weekend, some face perilous driving conditions across the state, bad enough that a few are deciding to spend the weekend in Boise. Meanwhile, enough snow has fallen around the state Capitol to allow construction of this stylish snowman with leafy arms, which is standing proudly on the Statehouse lawn near 8th and Jefferson streets.

Layers of fog and clouds…

Layers of fog and clouds decorate the skies over Boise this morning, where the overnight low dropped into the 30s, but highs today are expected to get up as high as 51 degrees. There's a 30 percent chance of rain today, rising to 90 percent tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain, rain, put out the fires…

Whoosh - and just like that, the season has changed. Rain came cascading down in Boise, and a big wind gust just knocked half the golden leaves off this tree. Best of all, some significant rain has been reported in the mountains across the state - raising hopes of a long-awaited end to this year's destructive wildfire season.

Gov. Butch Otter said today he's asked the Idaho Department of Fish & Game and the state Department of Environmental Quality to work up estimates of damage from this year's extensive forest fires, particularly the Mustang Complex and Halstead fires, which he noted have heavily impacted the Salmon River drainage, “where we've spent a lot of money on salmon restoration.” Otter said he wants to get a handle on how ash and erosion from the fires are likely to damage salmon habitat once spring runoff hits. He also said he's gotten an initial estimate from DEQ that this year's wildfires put 1.7 million tons or more of pollutants into Idaho's air, and reactivated 2.5 million tons of mercury, releasing it back into the air.

Snow update: 9” new at Bogus so far…

Snow update: Bogus Basin has gotten 9 inches of new snow, for a base of 12 inches and a summit depth of 16 inches. There's no announcement yet as to a possible opening for the local, non-profit ski resort that's gone dry so far this year, but one could come tonight during the “Get Louder for Powder” party on the Basque Block in downtown Boise; mountain supporters are being asked to wear ski clothes and goggles to the 5-8 p.m. bash of live music, food, beer and wine. It's still snowing in Boise, too; there's about 3 inches of wet snow on the ground outside the state Capitol. And at noon, Brundage Mountain at McCall reported 15 inches of new snow since 5 p.m. yesterday, 24 inches in the last 24 hours.

Snowflakes hit the foothills, and it’s Ski Swap time in Boise…

It is snowing - snowing! - right now in the Boise foothills. It's not sticking, but the timing is perfect for today's start of Boise's big annual Ski Swap, which opens at 5 p.m. today at the Western Idaho Fairgrounds, also known as “Expo Idaho.” The swap, which benefits the Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation, runs through Sunday; it costs $3 to get in, and is the place to find deals on new-to-you gear, from skis and snowboards to helmets and outfits, or unload your kids' outgrown gear and find replacements.

Sellers can take their gear in (11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday) to check it in for sale; the swap takes a 25 percent commission on items sold. The swap is open to buyers from 5-10 tonight (folks line up for the opening); 10-8 Saturday and 10-3 on Sunday.
  

A ‘Boise, Idaho rainbow sunrise’…

When my daughter, now 21, was little, she used to call this a “Boise, Idaho rainbow sunrise,” and to this day, the phrase comes to mind when I see one. This morning's is gorgeous; it's chilly, just 34 degrees, but something to see.

Red tree appears, autumn is here…

Each year, the appearance of a single flame-red tree, amid a sea of green leafiness in Boise's North End, signals the start of fall for me; I first spotted it two days ago, but this was my first chance to snap a picture. Already, the foliage around it is starting to take on glints of gold.

Seasons change…

I was out of town the first part of this week, and caught something special Wednesday morning: The year's first snowfall at Lake Tahoe, shown here. After our warm, summery September, the season really is changing now, as Boise's chilly rain today attests. It must be time…

Turns out this is ‘Lightning Safety Awareness Week’ - really

Would you believe that this is Lightning Safety Awareness Week? Really. It runs from June 19-25. In observance of the annual week, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety is urging attention to surge protectors and grounding, saying lightning strikes are responsible for 5 percent of all insured property losses annually and caused $1 billion in insured losses in 2010. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Lincoln, has put up a special web page about lightning risks, saying lightning killed an average of 55 people a year in the last 30 years.

Last night’s whopper of a storm was fifth-biggest lightning show in a decade

It's amazingly calm and mild in Boise this morning, with only a few puddles testifying to last night's wild weather - massive amounts of lightning, hard, soaking rains, and whipping wind gusts. We lost power at 10 p.m., which meant TV and computer were silenced in favor of watching the incredible lightning show by candlelight for the next hour and a half. The Boise Police reported two lightning-caused fires totaling 12 acres. “At about 11 p.m., as firefighters had the fires both under control, fire crews had to retreat to their vehicles for their own safety as another very active storm cell brought numerous lightning strikes to the area,” reports BPD spokeswoman Lynn Hightower. “Fortunately the storm also brought moderate to heavy rainfall. Crews were clearing from both fires by midnight.”

The Idaho Statesman reported that a Garden City man was struck by lightning while standing in the front doorway of his home, touching a metal screen door frame; he was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Valerie Mills, a meteorologist and senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Boise, said there were about 50 lightning strikes recorded in Ada County, the fifth-most in the last 10 years. “So yeah, it was a big night,” she said. The violent storm was kicked off by Boise's first really hot day of the year, which wasn't a record but hit 95 degrees. “We had warming below, and cooling aloft,” Mills said. “We also had moisture. That added instability, and the moisture that we had was just the ingredient that was needed to trigger those thunderstorms.” It wasn't the typical Idaho rainstorm - a few drops, a lot of wind, and it's over. Instead, the whopper of a storm was enough to clear out worsening air quality, water everyone's lawns and put on a big light show. “It was quite a day for Ada County, in fact other areas around too, in southeastern Oregon and Southwest Idaho,” Mills said.

Summer (finally) arrives in Boise

That really shouldn't be news, considering that today is June 21st, the official first day of summer. But it's been such a long, long wait through such an unseasonably cool, wet spring! Now the sun is shining, the roses are blooming, the trails are drying out, and at sunrise today, the rainbows were dancing in the spray from the windsurfers and kitesailors up on Lucky Peak lake. It's about time!

Water, water, everywhere…

There's even some snow mixed in this morning here in the Boise foothills, in this spring that still doesn't seem to have sprung. Here, the rain on my window yesterday afternoon turned the green Boise spring landscape into an impressionist painting. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, year-to-date precipitation is well above average in every basin in Idaho, from 119 percent in the Boise basin to 139 percent in the Bruneau. Plus, the “snow-water equivalent,” the measure that shows the depth of water in the snowpack if it were melted, is running even higher - from a statewide low of 113 percent of normal in the Big Lost River basin to a whopping 326 percent of normal in the Weiser River basin; that shows the risk of flooding…

Oh, my, look at that sky…

Wild weather, fog, clouds and flashes of blue sky combined to bring this sunset over Boise this evening, as the rain-pelted snow on the ground turns to slush…

It’s a snow day in Boise…

Boise schools are closed for a snow day today, with the school district reporting that “the significant amount of snow that fell during the day and evening of November 30 and into the morning hours of December 1 have made for dangerous traveling conditions for school buses and also for students, parents and District staff members.” The district made the call to cancel school at 4:30 a.m. today. The last snow day for Boise schools was Jan. 30, 2008, but that time the district made the call the night before in anticipation of snow and cold, only to have little fall; it’s been years since the last closure before that. This time, it’s for real, and kids can rejoice: Boise has at least 6 inches of snow, judging by the snowfall at my house, and it’s still falling.

Bogus Basin has 8 inches of new powder and it’s still snowing there; they open at 10 a.m.

H&W closes 8 offices for day due to weather

Severe winter weather and hazardous driving conditions in central and eastern Idaho have prompted the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to close all of its offices in regions 5, 6 and 7 for the day - that’s Burley, Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Rexburg, Preston and Salmon. All other Health & Welfare offices currently remain open, the department reports; you can read its announcement here.

Snow day in Boise…

It snowed all day yesterday in Boise without sticking, but today’s a different story, as the city awoke to a fluffy white blanket of snow a couple of inches thick. It’s the first driveway-shoveling day of the season, and for schoolkids, it’s time for snowman-building - Boise School District kids are out of school the whole week for Thanksgiving this year, thanks to budget cuts. Meanwhile, police have reported more than 100 traffic accidents across the state since Sunday due to winter driving conditions; be careful out there.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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