Friday, June 20, 2014

Late-spring storm blankets valley in white

Express Staff Writer

    It may not have been enough to bring out the skis, but Wood River Valley residents woke up with a shock Wednesday to see a snowstorm three days before the start of summer.
    Elizabeth Padian, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pocatello, said observers reported snow from Timmerman Hill north through the Wood River and Sawtooth valleys.
    Padian said late-June snowstorms are a rarity in the area, but historical records show that a trace of snow is possible on any given day year-round. She said that since the start of record-keeping in 1937, there has been snowfall in the Wood River Valley on several days in late June, as well as in July and August.
    Jan Turzian, owner of Sun Valley Garden Center in Bellevue, said a few of her customers told her they lost tomatoes due to the unexpected cold weather. She said plants that were covered were probably all right. She said it’s the cold temperatures more than snow that damages delicate flowers and vegetables.
    “You have to keep an eye on the weather throughout the summer here,” she said. “It has frozen on the Fourth of July.”
    Hunger Coalition Operations Manager Brooke McKenna said that at the organization’s Hope garden in Hailey, “the fava beans were mowed down flat.”
    The Herr brothers, Ed and Nevin, who grow strawberries in Picabo for sale around the Wood River Valley, said their crop was undamaged by the late snow.    
    “It’s supposed to be 80 degrees from here on out, so I think we’re OK,” Ed Herr said.    
    The storm was widespread, and was more pronounced farther south in Utah. According to the National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City, snow fell throughout the Wasatch Mountains, including 9 inches at Alta, which is at 8,800 feet elevation.

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