Idaho's Big February Snows Providing Short-Term And Long-Term Benefits

Feb 14, 2019

Lots of snow this February is making for ideal skiing conditions and laying the groundwork for plenty of water in the spring and summer.
Credit Julie Falk / Flickr

January was unusually mild, but February has served as a reminder that the calendar still says it’s winter. The spate of cold and snow is providing a two-fold benefit.

Over the weekend, it started snowing in Sun Valley. Then it just kept on coming down. Between Saturday and Valentine’s Day, a little more than four-and-a-half feet of snow has fallen. Kelli Lusk, the spokeswoman for the Sun Valley Resort, says they’re expecting to break a record.

“This February, month to date, February first to [the 14th], we’ve had 80 inches of snow,” says Lusk. “This is actually one of the biggest snow months for February in 51 years. I think we’re going to surpass the second-biggest year by this evening.”

That second-biggest year was the 1985-86 season which saw 85.5 inches of snow.

While the exceptional snowfall makes for ideal skiing conditions in the present, it also will pay off in the future. After an unusually temperate January, the heavy snow of February is boosting the long-term snowpack. That’s a good thing, according to National Weather Service meteorologist John Hinsberger.

“We’re at least getting to the point where our snowpack is at normal levels, and that’s going to have a big impact on our water supply for the spring season and the summer season,” Hinsberger says.

If March and April aren’t too dry, the meteorologist says the water supply should be in good shape for the warmer months.

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