What started as one of the best seasons in recent memory has since turned into a long dry spell for much of the western United States. However, NOAA is calling for the snow to return later this week as the strong high pressure trough that lingered over California for the majority of February starts to break down– BIG TIME.
Powder Chase: Significant Snowfall Likely For The Sierra & Areas of the West This Weekend
Although snowfall totals remain uncertain, certain NOAA officials expect most of the western United States to see significant precipitation in the near future. Areas looking to receive snow in the next two weeks include (but are not limited to) The Sierra, Cascades, Central/Northern Rockies, and the Tetons.
Although the trough is breaking down, it’s still way too early to start predicting snowfall totals or a “Miracle March” event for the following areas. However, we can provide a broad view of what is likely to happen in the next couple weeks based on research done by the Climate Prediction Center.
Bottomline, keep your fingers crossed!
The current focus remains on California, and more specifically the higher elevation resorts such as Mammoth, Kirkwood, and Mt Rose. As of today, models indicate that snow levels will remain high at roughly @8,000 feet this weekend. However, those levels should drop by Sunday, allowing for the chance of lake level snow to pile up in the Lake Tahoe area.
More importantly the Climate Prediction Center has the Lake Tahoe area pegged with the highest probability of precipitation over the next 14 days!
“Confidence is medium-high for seeing at least one decent storm between Sunday and Tuesday, but details such as snow/rain/wind magnitudes and timing are low confidence for now.”NWS Reno
Currently, Powderchasers.com is admittedly taking a leap in their forecasted snowfall totals for the Sierra saying, “Can I go out on the limb and forecast 5-10 feet through the latter part of next week?”
Chances Of A Miracle March: 60%
Utah, Colorado, Wyoming
It’s still way too early to predict snow totals for the following states but the storm door is open. Right now, the Climate Prediction Center is showing a high probability for precipitation to start moving into the central Rockies and Tetons in the next 14 days.
“For much of February, the weather across eastern Utah and western Colorado has been dominated by a stubborn ridge of high pressure centered over the Great Basin. This has acted to deflect (or move) most of the active storm track well north of the area. The persistent ridge is expected to breakdown or shift east late this weekend, opening the door for a series of wet Pacific storms to pass through the western states.”-Weather.gov
Chances Of A Miracle March: 40%
The Pacific Northwest
Similar to California, the storm appears to come in warm and leave cold. Currently, snow is in the forecast for much of the PNW tonight through Sunday. However, snow levels will dictate whether or not skiers will be greeted by pow or the heavier stuff.
As of today, snow-forecast is predicting Mt. Baker Ski Area to see over 18″ at higher elevation by Saturday morning!
Chances Of A Miracle March- 50%
Idaho and Montana
The northern rockies are currently forecasted to receive light precipitation over the weekend with chances of a big storm coming later next week. So far, probability places Idaho and Montana with a 40% probability of a wet 8-14 days ahead– whatever that means.