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For the week of September 27 through October 3, 2000

Early icing frosts valley

Snow is early, officials say

Express Staff Writer

Don’t wax your skis yet.

This weekend’s snows, though picturesque while combined with yellowing fall foliage, were an abnormal event, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Thomas Andretta, who works out of the weather service’s Pocatello office.

Autumn and winter collided as a smidgen of snow fell in the Sun Valley area this past weekend, helping fall display her colors in the finest of fashions. Ski runs, though white for the time being, may have to start from scratch yet again later this fall. Express photo by Willy Cook

"The series of low pressure systems that we had a week or so ago—it’s a little early in the season," he said.

On Saturday morning, Wood River Valley residents awoke to a smidgen of new snow on the valley floor, but the mountains stood out on what could be considered the quintessential Sun Valley autumn day: dazzling sunshine, azure skies, green and gold foliage and mountains smothered in white.

In Smiley Creek, at the southern end of the Sawtooth Valley, about four inches blanketed the valley.

The same weather system covered parts of Colorado with more than a foot, according to the National Weather Service. Andretta said the Tetons were hit hard, too.

A metal sculpture called Wapiti, by Bellevue resident Larry Meyers, surrounded by snow, may be a bit of an omen of the winter to come. This Western winter scene was photographed at Smiley Creek, at the southern end of the Sawtooth Valley. Express photo by Willy Cook

The early snowstorm also socked Wyoming and western Nebraska. Heavy, wet snow downed power lines and paralyzed travelers, the Weather Channel reported on its Web site.

Andretta said the long-term outlook for Idaho this fall and early winter calls for normal precipitation and temperatures.

"There are no real departures from normal for anywhere in Idaho over that time period," he said.

Washington and Oregon, Andretta said, should receive higher-than-normal precipitation and lower-than-normal temperatures through January, and the Southwest should receive lower-than-normal precipitation and higher-than-normal temperatures through the same time period.

The last time measurable snows fell in the Wood River Valley in September, according to Ketchum Ranger District records, was in 1978, when a storm dropped three inches. But the subsequent winter was a poor one, receiving a total of 83 inches of snow.

On Friday and Saturday, the Ketchum Ranger District office on Sun Valley Road recorded a trace of snow each day.


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