Boise Breaks 31-Year-Old Snow Record; Local Businesses Feel Impact

Winter is far from over, yet Idaho’s capital and most populous city has already seen more snowfall to date than in any other year.

Boise received 3 more inches of snow on Jan. 23, pushing the season-long snowfall to-date level 35.5 inches. According to the National Weather Service, the previous record was 35.1 of snowfall from Oct. 1, 1985 to Jan. 23, 1986.

All that snow has become an obstacle to many area businesses. A number of flights have been delayed or canceled at Boise Airport due to the snowfall, and crews have had to work overtime to keep the tarmac clear.

While the airport is well equipped to handle massive amounts of snow, other businesses aren’t so fortunate. Partners Produce and Seneca Foods, both located in nearby Payette, suffered massive roof collapses due to all the heavy snow.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, concerned about the possibility of more collapses, signed an emergency declaration for nearby Washington County, where roughly 100 structures have already collapsed. Among the losses are a grocery store, antique shop, and bowling alley.

Slick roads and heavy snowfall have also made it difficult for consumers to safely travel, and no doubt many business will see a drop in revenue. How much the snowfall impacts the local economy is still too early to tell.

Treacherous road conditions have also been keeping police and firefighters extremely busy. By mid-afternoon on Monday, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office had responded to nearly 100 vehicle crashes. There were also 24 stuck or stalled vehicles and 26 slide-offs.

While the snow has caused headaches for some, it’s been a thrill for others. Bogus Basin Ski Resort is currently enjoying a 71-inch snow base, with 77 inches at the summit. More snow attracts more skiers and allows for a longer ski season, both of which bring in more revenue.

Despite all the snow that has fallen this far, the total is still well short of the snowiest winter ever recorded in Boise. That honor goes to 1916-1917, when 50 inches fell on the city.

Boise usually begins to see the first snow in November and sees its last snow in early spring. However, according to Les Colin of the National Weather Service, snow can fall as late as May in Boise.

Little snowfall is predicted in the 10-day forecast; however, there are nearly two more months to go before spring officially arrives. If the season continues as it has up to this point, and another three or four major snowstorms arrive, Boise may break a record that has stood for 100 years.

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