Weather

Shown above is the ASOS weather data monitoring apparatus at the Salmon, Idaho, Airport (KSMN).
The Automated Surface Observing Systems serve as the nation's primary surface weather observing network
and are designed to support weather forecast activities and aviation operations as well as
support the needs of the meteorological, hydrological, and climatological research communities.
Photo By Gene Boyle, McCall Air Pilot. For more ASOS info see: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/asos/
On this page, we will assemble a variety of weather and climate information and links.  The Salmon River Idaho area is administered by two National Weather Service (NWS) Offices.  The Pocatello NWS covers the Custer County portion of the Salmon River Idaho area.  The Missoula NWS serves the Lemhi County portion of the Salmon River Idaho area.  Each NWS Office has slightly different formats for the presentation of their weather and climate information.

Recreational river users will be primarily interested in current and short term forecast weather conditions. Some river users may be also interested in long-term climate data showing typical average conditions for a particular time of year.

Both Pocatello and Missoula rely on a extensive automated weather data reporting sites.

From the Missoula NWS Home Page, click on "Observations" to see the sites utilized by the Missoula NWS. The Missoula NWS sites relevant to the Salmon River Idaho  are (upstream to downstream): Stanley, Bonanza, Mill Creek Summit SNOTEL, Challis Airport, Ezra Creek, Salmon Airport, Salmon RAWS, Salmon KSRA, Kriley Creek, Indianola, Shoup and Skull Gulch.

From the Pocatello NWS Home Page, click on "Observations" to see the site format used there. You can "mouseover" any of the cross hatches to see a snapshot of current conditions at that location. The Pocatello page has all of the same data sites as Missoula with the exception of Shoup.


Stanley Ranger Station
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=KSNT&num=48
See also for Stanley:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=STNI1&num=48

Smiley Creek Airport:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=ITD42&num=48

Horton Peak:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=HPFI1&num=48

Bonanza:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=YFFI1&num=48

Vienna Mine:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=VNNI1&num=48

Challis Airport
http://www.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KLLJ.html
See Also for Challis:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=CHRI1&num=48

Salmon Airport
http://www.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KSMN.html
See also for Salmon:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=KSMN&num=48

Ezra Creek:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pih&sid=EZRI1&num=48

Pocatello Observations Page
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/gmap.php?map=pih

Missoula Observations Page
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/gmap.php?map=mso


Both NWS Offices issue a wide variety of forecast products. One of the best ways to understand upcoming weather conditions is to read the "Area Forecast Discussion" (AFD). Every NWS Office in America issues 3-4 AFDs each day. The AFDs are generally filled with the arcane technical terminology and acronyms used by NWS professionals. The AFDs are prepared primarily for two reasons; A)To help an incoming shift understand the thinking of the outgoing shift, and B)To help the staff of neighboring NWS Offices understand the thinking of any given forecast staff. Although it takes time and patience to understand the NWS lingo used in the AFDs, these narratives are a very enlightening way to understand how the weather may develop in the next few days.

We have personally visited both the Missoula and Pocatello NWS Offices. We have talked with NWS Staff about their perspectives regarding the AFDs. The Staff of the Missoula NWS Office prides itself on mountain weather forecasting. The Staff of the Pocatello NWS Office prides itself on understanding Snake River Plain weather conditions. The Pocatello Staff will be the first to tell you they don't spend much time trying to understand mountain weather. The Missoula Staff will likewise happily tell you they do a much better job forecasting Salmon River Country weather than do their Pocatello counterparts. Consequently, it would behoove river recreationists who harbor a serious interest in weather to pay much more attention to the Missoula AFD than the Pocatello AFD.

Click here for the Missoula AFD.
Click here for the Pocatello AFD.

Long term Climate Data

Extensive Idaho climate data summaries are available for 152 locations in the Gem State. Shoup, Salmon Airport, Challis and Stanley are the sites most relevant to the SRGP area. Click here to go to the main Home Page for "Idaho Climate Summaries." It is very easy to find the four relevant sites from either the map or the text list.

A very basic monthly summary is displayed when you click on any given data site. However, a huge amount of additional data is available from links in the left column. The discussion of all of the data available there is beyond the scope of this blog post. In the meantime, if you have a lot of time on your hands, kick back and enjoy all those climate statistics--you could easily get lost there and wind up wasting a whole day or more roaming charts, graphs and text tables!