We all probably sort of knew this already, but a new map seems to show quite clearly that it doesn't take much snow to close schools in the Southern U.S. — and that it takes a lot to close them in the Northern half of the nation.

Winter Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are learning this month who will get to go to the Sochi Games next month. One snow making expert from Washington state is already there.

A ground-based cloud-seeding tower at Alpine Meadows ski area near California's Lake Tahoe.

Bogus Basin

Wednesday morning’s snow caused a lot of problems for Treasure Valley drivers, but area skiers now have a reason to celebrate.

Cold Weather Closes Some Idaho Schools

Dec 9, 2013
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The cold snap affecting Idaho has led some schools to cancel classes. 

Schools in Idaho Falls, Oneida County, Grace, Fort Hall, Blackfoot and others were closed in eastern Idaho, along with schools in southern Idaho's Jerome and Shoshone school districts.  Officials with the Boise School District warned parents that some buses were running late because of the cold snap.

Redfish Lake Camera Screengrab

The National Weather Service office in Boise grabbed a slick time-lapse video of Redfish Lake, Idaho over the weekend. The three-day lapse captured by the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association web-cam shows fog dancing across the lake and a glimpse of winter.

AMagill / Flickr Creative Commons

Snow is falling early in some parts of the state — including a couple of ski areas.

Officials reported snow at Brundage Mountain near McCall Tuesday and a light dusting atop the mountains at Bogus Basin outside of Boise.

Forecasters are calling for more snow the rest of this week with heavy, early-season dumps north of Ketchum. Meteorologists are predicting as much as 10 inches to accumulate near Galena Summit through Thursday.

Similar projections are being made for other parts of the state.

Nicholas D. / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s only July 22, but Lucky Peak Reservoir is already seeing the effects of a dry and hot season.

The Bureau of Reclamation has started dropping water levels in the reservoir, and is diverting the water for irrigation. Farmers in the Boise River watershed usually get water from the system around Labor Day. But with supplies at about 50 percent of normal, this year the diversion is happening five weeks earlier.

So what does this mean for recreation at Lucky Peak the rest of this summer?

Frank Kovalchek / Flickr Creative Commons

If you were to go to the banks of the Snake River downstream of Milner Dam near Burley, you wouldn’t see much more than a trickle of water. That’s because the federal Bureau of Reclamation shut off the river flow on June 4.

For at least 25 miles, there isn’t enough water for a kayaker to paddle through. Idaho Power runs the hydroelectric plant at the dam, and says the zero flow will impact its operations through late July.  

Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

Firefighters continue to battle a large blaze in southern California that started last week. At its most dangerous, the wildfire threatened about 4,000 homes and has moved quickly in the dry and windy conditions.

In Idaho, the National Interagency Fire Center predicts a slightly milder – but still above average – fire season.

Kevin Micalizzi / Flickr Creative Commons

Later today, the Natural Resources Conservation Service will release a full report on snowpack and water levels in Idaho so far this year. The report will help paint a clearer picture of a complicated water scenario.

Water specialist Ron Abramovich says this year’s snowpack started off strong, but quickly dropped off. That makes for diverse stream levels.

McCALL, Idaho – A dragon more than two stories tall, a larger-than-life wizard’s head with a built-in kids’ slide and entwined, leaping swordfish helped this small resort town make its case to be “the snow sculpting capital of the Northwest.”  Teams of artists crafted more than thirty large and whimsical snow sculptures, which rose in the front yards or parking lots of sponsoring businesses and in a lakefront park.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A new winter storm system could bring up to five inches of snow overnight to the Treasure Valley. Stephen Parker with the National Weather Service in Boise says temperatures for this storm won't dip much below freezing in the Valley.

Jay Breidenbach / National Weather Service

Lately it seems like every morning in the Treasure Valley has been the same. Temperatures have been in the single digits. There’s frost on windshields, and people bundle up in big coats, hats and gloves. Clouds, fog and pollution hang low in the sky.

The National Weather Service says the valley hasn’t seen an inversion of this caliber since 1999.

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Nearly halfway through winter, Idaho’s farmers and ranchers will soon make plans for their planting season. The latest snow survey by the Natural Resources Conservation Service could give them reasons to be optimistic. Hydrologist Ron Abramovich says that after one of the driest years on record, Idaho’s snowpack is off to a great start.

Overnight snowfall has made for slick roads in the Treasure Valley this morning. Forecasters had predicted 1 to 3 inches, but said this morning the front that brought the snow moved slower than expected.  That could lead to increased totals.  The snow is expected to end this morning.

It's a snow day for many schools in the Treasure Valley including the Boise School District.  Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell schools are just some of the districts that have closed for the day.  Boise State University remains open. 

College of Western Idaho classes and office buildings will start late at 10 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory that will remain in effect through 9 a.m.

The mountains could get up to eight inches of snow today while lower elevations including the Treasure Valley could see up to three inches.

Snow Continues In The Treasure Valley: Your Photos, Comments

Jan 7, 2013

Snow has fallen across the Treasure Valley throughout today. The National Weather Service predicted up to an inch would fall by day's end, but so far those expectations have been exceeded. You've shared many of your photos through Twitter, from dogs playing in the accumulating snow to neighborhoods covered in a white blanket. We've collected some of your images into this Storify, below. You can share your photos and comments on this web post, or tweet us your pics @boisestateradio.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

On the opening day of Idaho's legislative session, people navigating around the capitol city are experiencing a winter wonderland. Fresh snow blankets Boise, making roads dangerous for the evening commute.

The National Weather Service in Boise has issued a winter weather advisory for much of southwest Idaho. The advisory will be in effect until 8:00 p.m.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Cloud seeding has been around for decades. It started out as a way to make rain for growing crops. But in the Mountain West, it’s used these days as a way to make more snow.

Cloud seeding is often misunderstood. It’s the process of increasing the amount of rain or snow fall when a storm system moves through.

“When you look at cloud seeding, it’s a water management tool -  it’s not something that we use to eliminate a drought," says Derek Blestrud. 

Bogus Basin Recreation Area

The National Weather Service is seeking input from the public on new language it’s considering for weather alerts.  Traditionally, forecasters use words like “warning”, “watch” and “advisory”.  But not everyone understands exactly what each term means. 

So 26 Weather Service offices across the country have started a pilot program to use some new language that explains in greater detail what weather is being predicted. The program got underway earlier this month.

Jenni Wade

Snow is expected across much of Idaho over the next few days. But some people say they don't need forecasters to tell them that - they claim to be able to "smell" when snow coming.

Laura Munson is a writer living in northwest Montana. She swears she can tell when it's going to snow - even if people don't believe her.

"I can remember this time of hanging out with this group of people," Munson says. And I said that I felt like it was going to snow. I felt like I could smell snow coming. And sure enough, the next morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was white."

Snow Predicted For Weekend, Ski Areas Could Get 12 Inches

Dec 14, 2012
Amy Goodman / Flickr

The National Weather Service in Boise is predicting winter weather conditions for much of southern Idaho this weekend.

Up to a foot of snow could accumulate at McCall's Brundage Mountain, which opened today. Bogus Basin, near Boise, could receive up to 10 inches.

Meteorologist Colleen Decker says the snow will begin between midnight on Saturday and into early Sunday morning.

Snow Comes Early To Bogus Basin, But No Early Opening Yet

Oct 22, 2012
Bogus Basin Recreation Area

Bogus Basin Recreation Area received about three inches of snow today, giving skiers in the Treasure Valley something to talk about.

Will Idaho See More Or Less Rain And Snow This Winter?

Oct 22, 2012
Ron Abramovich / National Resources Conservation Service

Recent rain has provided some much-needed relief from the dry conditions Idaho has experienced this year.

According to water supply specialist Ron Abramovich, the rain has gone a long way in ending the wildfire season.

“What it did was put a damper on the fire season finally," says Abramovich, who monitors water levels for the National Resources Conservation Service in Boise. "Too bad it didn’t come in September because it would have helped out a lot more then.”