A tale of two Treasure Valley winters

Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 21:42:16-05

Before this winter started, a buzz was going around that had people panicking about a possible "snowmageddon" part two.

Marie Woodbury has been living here since the 70s and has seen what winter is usually like in Boise. Back in October, she said, "it’s going to be the same this year, and I thought.. oh dear god.. what'll we do!"

Peter Geiger from the Farmers' Almanac wasn't buying that apocalyptic forecast back in October. His forecast was more for an average year saying  "I think you'll probably get something like maybe 20 inches, but you're not going to get the 40... I 'm sorry I know how much you enjoyed that snow last year."

The farmer’s almanac official 2017/18 winter forecast

Eventually, the snow started to fly in December leading to a snowy end of the month. But then came the seventh warmest January in over one hundred-fifty year with only a skiff of snow! After a late surge of February snow, it looks like this winter's numbers are not very far from average, which has the Farmers' Almanac forecast looking pretty good right now.

After talking again more recently with Peter Gieger, he went over what his official winter forecast was stating:  

"When we talked at the beginning of the winter I said it would be a little brisk but drier than normal so I'm not going to wave the victory flag and I'm also going to say we're not at the end of winter."

More weather from the Farmers' Almanac

This week’s farmer’s almanac newsletter

Nicollette Harris was one of many who were not expecting a winter like this saying back in October  "I don't think it's accurate... It's going to be cold and snowy.

But after talking to her aunt in late February, she said: "I definitely have a newfound appreciation for the accuracy of the farmer’s almanac… it’s bittersweet honestly” she continued “because I did have to travel, so it's good for now snow that way, but I did miss a snowy winter."

Meteorologist Scott Dorval's report card on the winter looks like this.

Expecting 25% above average snowfall for Boise he was not far from the 16% above average now, so that's an “A.”

However, his snow snowpack forecast for Southern Idaho was way too ambitious, so that's an "F." 

And he gets a "C" for North Idaho where they have had more snow.

We had fewer inversion days than average as he forecasted, so that’s an "A." 

Check out Scott's updated forecasts on his Facebook page

But what's better news is that more accurate forecasts are becoming a reality.

Noaa's newest satellite.. goes sixteen has already been paying off

Vanessa Griffing, director of satellite operations for NOAA says "we're actually detecting forest fires with the satellite and notifying fire managers even before we're getting calls from 911."

The goes 16 satellite has been moved to cover the east coast, so nothing's been covering the west. But a new satellite will be launched very soon that will include western states like Idaho. It, like goes 16 will have highly sensitive instruments that will be able to detect details on the ground with five times the resolution of older satellites which is so very important for the accuracy of the forecast

Data from all NOAA's latest weather satellites should make forecasts up to a week out just as accurate as the three-day forecast is now.

In the meantime, we can still get those long-term outlooks from the Farmers' almanac like their forecast for this summer.

Peter Geiger from the almanac is clarifying his forecast for Idaho this summer saying:

 "I think it's going to be warmer than average where you are and I think it's going to be a drier summer."

If now you have fishing on your mind you can also get the fishing calendar from the Almanac.

The Climate Prediction Center says hotter and drier than average for Idaho.