Eastern Idaho is being hit by a series of winter storms that began Wednesday and will continue into next week.
The first storm, a weak system, passed through the region on Wednesday morning and afternoon. It brought less than an inch of snow to eastern Idaho but caused several crashes on Interstate 15, the most severe of which shut down the freeway's southbound lanes for two hours just south of Blackfoot.
That wreck occurred around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday and involved a Blackhawk BBQ Pit pickup truck and trailer hitting the guardrail, overturning and catching fire during the snowy conditions. The pickup's driver, Nicholas Transtrum, 45, of Blackfoot, was transported via ambulance to Bingham Memorial Hospital in Blackfoot where he was treated and released.
Drivers can expect even snowier conditions during the next storm forecast to barrel through eastern Idaho.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning and winter weather advisory for eastern Idaho warning the public about that storm, which is expected to hit Thursday morning through Friday morning.
Another storm is then forecast to hammer eastern Idaho Friday night through Saturday night followed by the final storm in the series passing through on Sunday and Monday.
The storm forecast to hit eastern Idaho on Thursday morning through Friday morning is expected to create hazardous driving conditions, especially in the higher elevations. The weather service is encouraging people driving in East Idaho during the storm to make sure they have flashlights, food and water in their vehicles in case of an emergency.
The Thursday morning through Friday morning storm is forecast to dump up to 9 inches of snow on the Island Park, Kilgore, Ashton, Driggs, Victor, Tetonia, Bone, Swan Valley, Palisades, Wayan, Henry, Soda Springs, Grace, Bancroft, Lava Hot Springs, Montpelier, Georgetown, St. Charles and Paris areas.
The Rigby, Rexburg, St. Anthony and Spencer areas could receive up to 5 inches of snow from the storm, while the Malad, Preston, Weston, Franklin, Dayton and Thatcher areas could receive up to 4 inches of snow.
The rest of eastern Idaho including the Downey, McCammon, Arimo, Inkom, Rockland, Arbon, Holbrook, Malta, Pocatello, Blackfoot, Atomic City, American Falls, Aberdeen, Fort Hall, Idaho Falls and Dubois areas could receive up to 3 inches of snow from the Thursday morning through Friday morning storm.
The weather service said the storm could dump the most snow — up to 18 inches — on eastern Idaho's higher mountains, making travel on mountain passes extremely hazardous.
The storm forecast to roll through eastern Idaho from Friday night through Saturday night is currently expected to be less powerful than its predecessor but it is still predicted to bring up to 3 inches of snow to eastern Idaho's lowlands including Pocatello, Blackfoot, Idaho Falls and Rexburg and up to 5 inches of snow to the highlands including Island Park, Driggs, Victor, Soda Springs, Montpelier and Lava Hot Springs.
The weather service has not yet offered any snowfall predictions for the Sunday-Monday storm but those will be provided as that weather system approaches.
The incoming storms will be packing high winds that will create blowing and drifting snow, making driving conditions in eastern Idaho even more dangerous. Road closures are possible.
Elsewhere in Idaho, the central Idaho mountains including the Stanley, Ketchum and Sun Valley areas are under a winter storm warning calling for up to 18 inches of snow. Winter storm warnings have been declared in North Idaho as well.
Areas north of Mountain Home and Boise are currently under winter weather advisories because of the snowstorms in the forecast, and winter storm warnings, winter weather advisories and/or hazardous weather alerts have been declared in all of the states surrounding Idaho as the region braces for the incoming snowy weather.