The snow is not forecasted to be all that impressive this Winter in the Southern Rockies with the La Nina conditions and a weakened subtropical jet stream. The Pacific NW normally gets pounded by the strengthened Polar jet stream and then into the Northern and Central Rockies. But so far this season with the split flow the storms approaching the West coast continue to split with the Southern piece spinning up a low over the Southwest and tapping moisture from the Souther jetstream. These storms have brought some healthy snows to the Souther Rockies over the past couple of weeks.
Here is the latest snowcover map showing that the Rockies have all the snow in the country right now. The dark grey inside the red is where over 40 inches is currently on the ground. The Northern Rockies got good snowfall in November but that snow is getting stale.
There is another storm sitting over Arizona and Colorado today that has been spinning over the Southwest for the past 2 days. It has already brought a swath of 6+ inches from the Southern CA resorts across to Flagstaff, Taos, and Southwestern CO. Durango is reporting 16 inches in the past 48 hours, Silverton 16 inches, and Telluride 6 inches. We will see another 3-6 inches fall today over Southwestern Colorado before the storm departs to the East.
Another wave is going to split off the storm hitting the West Coast on Thursday causing another low to spin up over the Southwest through the weekend. This one is drier and further south and by the time it pulls in some moisture from the Southern jet stream it looks like it will be pushing East. We may see some more light snow over the mountains of New Mexico on Sunday or Monday. To the North the storm will be weak bringing light amounts of snow to the mountains of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming on the order of only a couple of inches.
Next week there will be a slightly stronger storm entering the Pacific NW around Wednesday. That could bring snow to the Norther Rockies of Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming on Thursday and then slide South down the mountains into Utah and Colorado on Friday. This doesn’t look like a big storm but it could bring several inches to places needing fresh snowfall. This will cover most of the range as well as it is coming from North to South down the entire range and not across the Southwest.
It looks like the ridge could build in over the West for the Holidays keeping most areas dry. Long-range models have been hinting at a possible breakthrough of the Westerlies into the West Coast around the end of the month. Don’t hold your breath, but eventually it will happen as it does every Winter and these stronger storms will push into the Rockies after hitting the West Coast. BA