[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]
The first two storms have played out as expected. On Monday/Tuesday, Southwest Colorado got a nice thumping of snow. Telluride picked up 6”, Purgatory 5”, and 8-10” fell at Silverton. The rest of Colorado saw smaller amounts ranging from 1-4”.
The Alberta Clipper was next up and delivered significant snow to Interior BC, Alberta, and Montana. Areas on the northern side of the cold front in Montana, like Showdown, received 10” of new snow.
The third major snow event of the week is already well underway. A shortwave trough is combining with moisture from the pacific resulting in heavy snow just north of the aforementioned cold front. This is allowing the Tetons to get a head start on the snow before the strong upper level low pressure system begins to affect the NW.
Short Term Forecast:
Jackson Hole picked up 14″ overnight and Grand Targhee ~10″”. You can see the deep snow at the base of Grand Targhee below. The shortwave trough will continue to effect Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho before the Low pressure moves down the coast and eventually inland.
While the Absorka, Wind River, and Big Horn ranges will be hit the hardest with up to 2 feet of snow, the Tetons will also do well. With W/SW flow, we expect JHMR to fare better than Grand Targhee. As the shortwave digs SW Thursday Evening/Friday Morning, precipitation will again breakout over the Tetons.
Initially it will be too warm for snow in the valleys, but above 6500 feet it will snow moderately to heavily for SEVERAL DAYS.
Right now, the snow looks to last until Sunday, with 1-2+ FEET of snow. With persistent W/SW flow, expect Jackson Hole to be on the higher end of these totals. There should be a lull in the snow on Sunday before another, similar storm begins to affect the region that could last for a few days.
As the aforementioned shortwave moves across the region, snow will re-develop over most of the western half of Montana along and north of the cold front moving West to East throughout the day on Thursday. As moisture streams in from the Pacific over the cold air already in place, snow will intensify and be heaviest along the rocky mountain front with E flow, once again favoring Showdown, Lookout Pass, and Teton Pass Ski Resort (*closed this season). However, all resorts are now north of the cold front and should receive significant snow. This moderate to heavy snow will continue at times through Sunday morning.
Generally, another 8-16” of snow will fall across all Montana resorts by midday Sunday, including Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Whitefish, Montana Snowbowl, Great Divide, and Blacktail. Areas along the rocky mountain front, Showdown, Lookout Pass, and Tetons Pass, as well as areas near the WY border like Red Lodge, have the best chance of meeting or exceeding the high end of the 8-16” range. These areas could see up to 2 FEET of snow.
The low pressure system will begin affecting Idaho Thursday evening. Initially, snow levels will be high, around 6500 feet through Friday, before falling during the day on Saturday.
The combination of warm temps, high snow levels, and somewhat less moisture, will limit snowfall totals to 4-8” for areas like Brundage and Sun Valley. However, Schweitzer, being much farther north and therefore with cooler, could see 8-16” by Sunday. Idaho too will have a lull on Sunday before the next system moves in.
After seeing some light snow today in the cascades, Washington will see more significant snow as the upper level low drops down the coast and sets up offshore.
Snow will begin midday to Thursday afternoon and continue through Friday, with the heaviest snow occurring Thursday evening. Snow levels will be dropping as the snow gets underway, starting around 3500-4000 and lowering to 1000 feet by midday Friday. Some areas below 1000 feet could even see some snow showers on Friday.
The heaviest snow will be aimed at the central Washington cascades, with lesser amounts north. Expect 8-16” for Crystal and Stevens, and 5-10” for Mt. Baker by Friday evening. The next round of snow will begin in Washington around Saturday evening.
This same low pressure will bring moderate to heavy snowfall to Oregon as well from Thursday to Friday. Snow levels will be generally a little higher in the Oregon Cascades, but a general 5-10” with isolated higher amounts can be expected for Bachelor, Mount Hood Meadows, and Timberline. The next round of snow will begin Saturday evening for Oregon as well.
Tahoe will finally get in on the action as an active pattern develops late Thursday and continues well into next week. The first storm for the Sierra will feature a weak Atmospheric River that will combine with the low pressure dropping down the coast from the Gulf of Alaska, beginning early late Thursday night/Friday morning.
Gusty winds will accompany this system, with heavy snow for the Sierra mountains. Snow levels will be a little tricky with this event, so lake level accumulations could range anywhere from 2-6” depending on snow level.
Above 7000 feet, however, it will be a mostly snow event resulting in 1-2 FEET+ with higher amounts along the Sierra Crest where 3 FOOT totals would not be surprising. By midday Sunday, Sugar Bowl, Squaw Valley, Mt Rose, Kirkwood, and Mammoth should all have 1-2 FOOT snow totals. All of the Tahoe resorts will get substantial base building snow, with light snow possible another storm possible on Monday and another significant storm possible Midweek.
The remnants of this big storm will eventually reach Utah and Colorado by Sunday, with light to moderate amounts. Generally 4-8” will fall but we’ll address totals again during a future update. A second round of snow is possible midweek as well.
Southern British Columbia and Alberta will see more from Thursday to Sunday as well. Generally another 4-8” of snow with isolated higher amounts in Southeastern BC. Fernie, Whitewater, Kimberley, Mt Baldy, and Apex have the best chances to exceed the 4-8” range. Whistler and Big White should fare pretty well also.
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As mentioned above, a second strong upper level low pressure system will move down the coast and slowly inland through the PNW, similar to the event we’ve been discussing in the short term forecasts.
This storm will roughly begin effecting Washington and Oregon around Saturday night, Idaho and Montana Sunday night, and Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado Monday morning. This could be another moderate to heavy snow event for the areas mentioned above. California may be in the light to moderate range for this storm.
And finally, yet ANOTHER round of moderate to heavy snow could affect the Western US mid to late week. And at this point, we might as well let you know that the pattern looks to remain cool and stormy for the foreseeable future, past mid month.
– Powderchaser Luke – 03 NOV 2017
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