Knowing when the first snow in Idaho happens is an exciting thing to plan for. It snows just about everywhere in Idaho, but your location within the state truly affects how much snow you receive on average. But when can you expect snow to fall, and where in the state can you truly enjoy a winter wonderland?
In this article, we will address everything you need to know about snowfall in Idaho, including when the first amounts of snow typically occur. We will also go over some of the average temperatures in the state as well as the locations that tend to experience the most snow. Let’s get started!
Understanding First Snow in Idaho
|Idaho Snow Facts
|Earliest First Snowfall
|October 1 (1971)
|Latest First Snowfall
|December 30 (1958)
|23-40 degrees Fahrenheit
|Largest Average Snowfall
|150 inches (2018-2019)
|Smallest Average Snowfall
|4 inches (1991-1992)
|Places to Enjoy the Snow
|Boise, Idaho Panhandle National Forest
On average, Idaho experiences its first snowfall before the end of November, sometimes even toward the beginning of the month. It is rare for Idaho to get snow during the month of October, but not impossible. In fact, the earliest first snow in Idaho occurred much earlier than November! But what about the latest first snow date in Idaho? Some years are more surprising than others- let’s take a closer look at the data.
Earliest and Latest Snowfalls in Idaho
There are a few different records surrounding the earliest and latest snowfall dates in Idaho. This is likely due to the fact that the state experiences varying degrees of winter weather based on the elevation gains found throughout the region. However, there is a record of at least two inches of snow falling as early as October 1st in the year 1971.
Given the fact that Idaho typically experiences its first snowfall during the month of November, having significant accumulation that early in the year is rare! But when was the latest first snow in the state? December 30th in 1958 was the latest ever, first appearance of snow in Idaho, likely upsetting a great deal of local and tourism economies.
Largest and Smallest Snowfalls in Idaho
Determining the greatest and smallest snow seasons in Idaho’s history is tricky, given the fact that the city of Boise averages a much smaller amount of annual snowfall compared to locations like Island Park. This is largely due to the terrain and geographical qualities of these locations; we’ll determine an average snowfall amount for the state as a whole, but know that there are likely more extreme records in specific cities!
When it comes to the largest snowfall amounts in a single season, 2018-2019 saw over 150 inches of snow descend on Idaho. In direct contrast, 1991-1992 only saw 4 inches throughout the entire winter season, making it one of the least snowy seasons on record. However, most wintertime months see multiple inches of snow across the entire state of Idaho!
Winter Temperatures in Idaho
Given that the geography of Idaho greatly affects the amount of snow that falls during a given season, let’s take a look at the average temperatures and snow rates for specific locations across the state.
Touching the border of Canada, it’s no secret that northern Idaho experiences its fair share of snow and winter weather. Protected by Washington’s forests to the west, northern Idaho ranges anywhere from 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit on average. In terms of snowfall, this region is prized for its ski resorts and gorgeous forests, receiving roughly 10 inches of snow per month during the wintertime.
Central Idaho doesn’t have much besides national wilderness, but locations such as Ketchum experience colder winters compared to northern Idaho. In fact, the average temperature in Ketchum ranges from 10 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, locations in central Idaho experience slightly more snow as well, with an average of 12 inches falling every month in the winter.
With Utah and Nevada bordering southern Idaho, it maintains a dry and cold winter. The average temperature in this part of the state ranges from 24 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall is significantly decreased in southern Idaho as well, with roughly 2 inches falling during the months of November, December, and January.
Winter Wildlife in Idaho
Depending on where you visit in Idaho, you may have the chance to see a number of wildlife species. Bordered by Yellowstone National Park and full of its own wilderness, here are some of the animals you might be able to see during the winter in Idaho:
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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Debby Ford/Shutterstock.com
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- FIRST AND LAST MEASURABLE SNOWFALLS AT BOISE (>= 0.1 IN.) , Available here: https://www.weather.gov/boi/climateviewer?file=FirstLast%20Snow.txt