East Idaho is being hit by what could be the most severe blast of winter to barrel through the region so far this season.
The winter storms forecast to hammer East Idaho Friday night through Tuesday afternoon are expected to dump a foot or more of snow on many local communities.
East Idaho's mountain areas are forecast to receive the most snow from the storms — up to 4 feet in some places.
The weather service said the areas hardest hit by the first and subsequent storms Friday night through Tuesday afternoon will be Emigration Summit, Grace, Soda Springs, Bancroft, Wayan, Henry, Swan Valley, Palisades, Victor, Ashton, Tetonia, Driggs, Island Park and Kilgore. These areas are forecast to receive 1 to 4 feet of snow depending on the severity of the storms Friday night through Tuesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service has declared winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for all of East Idaho warning the public about the "very difficult to impossible" driving conditions created by the storms.
Winds as strong as 40 mph will create blowing snow that will drastically reduce visibility on East Idaho's roads. Drifting snow could shut down some of those roads during the course of the storms.
The first storm is forecast to hit East Idaho Friday night through Saturday night.
The National Weather Service said the following areas will receive 2 to 6 inches of snow from the first storm: Mud Lake, Idaho National Laboratory, Craters of the Moon, Idaho Falls, Atomic City, Ammon, Rexburg, Rigby, St. Anthony, Pocatello, Chubbuck, Blackfoot, Aberdeen, American Falls, Fort Hall, Shelley, Firth, Raft River, Declo, Burley, Rupert, Paul, Heyburn, Oakley, Albion, Almo, Malta, Holbrook, Inkom, Arbon, Rockland, McCammon, Arimo, Downey, Swanlake, Lava Hot Springs, Malad, Preston, Franklin, Montpelier, Georgetown, Paris, St. Charles, Dubois and Spencer.
It's possible that the higher elevations in those areas could receive up to a foot of snow Friday night through Saturday night depending on the first storm's severity.
The rest of East Idaho, including Pocatello, Chubbuck, American Falls, Aberdeen, Blackfoot, Fort Hall, Idaho Falls, Ammon, Rigby, Rexburg, Montpelier, Preston and Malad, could receive several inches of snow from the storms that hit Sunday morning through Tuesday afternoon. If the forecast holds, the weather service will almost certainly issue winter weather warnings for those areas regarding the subsequent storms.
Elsewhere in Idaho, winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are in effect for the central Idaho mountains including Stanley, Hailey, Sun Valley, Ketchum and Salmon. The Twin Falls and Jerome areas are under winter weather advisories, much of southwest Idaho is under winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories, and all of North Idaho is under a winter storm warning.
The storms have also triggered winter storm warnings and/or winter weather advisories in all of the states surrounding Idaho.