The National Weather Service is cautioning recreationists to avoid a number of trails in the Sun Valley area.
The NWS office in Boise has issued an avalanche warning for the areas of Soldier, Smokey, Boulder and Sawtooth mountains.
"New snowfall and strong winds have produced unstable snow and avalanches are likely on steep, snow-covered slopes and gullies in the mountains,” wrote the NWS. “It will be possible for slides to reach exposed roadways and trails. Avoid travel and recreation in avalanche terrain. Be aware of sloping terrain, and avoid avalanche path runout areas."
A spokesman for the Sawtooth Avalanche Center added that moderate to strong winds, coupled with one-and-a-half to three feet of new snow triggered the avalanche warning. The avalanche center said the warning was extended for mountains around Fairfield, Stanley and Galena Summit.
Meanwhile, a 21-year-old Brigham Young University student was killed Feb. 8 when she was caught in an avalanche while snowshoeing in Utah's American Fork Canyon. Rescuers said the student was buried in the avalanche for about 40 minutes before she could be pulled out. She was rushed to a Provo hospital but died a short time later. Utah officials reported at least 14 avalanches in the region over the weekend.
UPDATE: Feb. 7, 2014 11:30 a.m.
The Ada County Highway District says northbound ParkCenter Boulevard remains closed near the Park Boulevard bridge following an early morning water line break. Northbound traffic on ParkCenter is being diverted east down Beacon Street, and onto Broadway Avenue and then north to Park Boulevard.
Crews from United Water are on the scene and they estimate it will take approximately 6 hours to repair the broken water line. C&A Paving is supply asphalt for United Water's repair and Capital Paving will be restoring that part of the road. The repairs are anticipated to last at least through Monday, Feb. 10, and possibly longer.
Meanwhile, motorists are being cautioned to avoid the area where Park Boulevard, Clearwater Lane and Front Street intersect through Monday, Feb. 10, or until the lane has been repaired and reopened.
ORIGINAL POST: Feb. 7, 2014 9 a.m.
A so-called "Pineapple Express" is dumping a ton of moisture on the Pacific Northwest this morning, including Idaho, and while the much-needed precipitation is far from calming the fears about a significant shortfall in the region's water tables, it still created quite a mess for commuters Friday morning.
Ada County Highway District plows and sand-spreading trucks worked all night in an attempt to get ahead of the early morning conditions on area roadways. Parts of Ada County received between two and five inches of snow overnight, with the biggest accumulations reported in the Boise Foothills and in areas north of Eagle and Star. Portions of Payette, Weiser, the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley got significantly more snow.
ACHD reports that it deployed some 50 pieces of equipment, mostly trucks equipped with de-icer and sand to tackle bridges, intersections, hills and near schools.
But many of the region's schools decided to call it a "snow day" well before sunrise, beginning with Idaho's two largest districts, Boise and Meridian.
Dozens of schools throughout Southwest Idaho canceled classes today, including Anser Charter, Bishop Kelly High, Compass Charter, the Emmett School District, the Foothills School of Arts and Sciences, the Fruitland School District, Giraffe Laugh Daycare, the Montessori Academy, North Star Charter, the New Plymouth School District, Riverstone International, Rolling Hills Public Charter and Village Charter.
Meanwhile, the morning rush hour was that much more challenging Friday morning after a water main broke near Boise's Parkcenter Bridge. Boise Police blocked off the bridge at Park and Parkcenter due to the break.
Boise Police officers reported that Friday's morning's commute would probably take at least twice the normal time just within the city limits.
But it didn't take long for the region's ski resorts to quickly send out tweets and update their Facebooks with a "powder alert," reporting significant amounts of new snow at the bases and summits.
Idaho's "Avalanche Alley" is set to be closed later today, the second time the stretch of state Highway 21 has been closed due to weather this season. The road was closed through much of the weekend of Jan. 10-12 after snow slides.
The Idaho Transportation Department announced earlier today that the 12-mile stretch of Idaho 21 between the Grandjean Junction and Banner Summit would be closed as an avalanche-safety precaution, beginning at 6 p.m. Feb. 7. The area received more than eight inches of snow overnight and heavy snowfall is expected to continue through much of the weekend.
"Avalanche Alley" accounts for 90 percent of avalanches on Gem State highways. ITD reports an average of 45-50 slides each year and more than 250 inches of snow on average.