SUMMARY February 14, 2016: Warm temperatures have taken me to start thinking “Spring is around the corner” but history has shown that in the west its not uncommon to go from 60 degrees to 20 degrees and blower pow. It’s a holiday weekend so the trick might be to find a resort with powder and less crowds. The Pacific Northwest gets wet by Wednesday (Rain at the bases and mid elevations) that will turn to snow at all elevations by Thursday/Friday. The Sierra gets 3-4 storms through early next week that weaken and send leftovers into the 4 corners and perhaps the Wasatch and Tetons this weekend. Wolf Creek sneaked out 10 inches in the past 2 days. The real news of the week is New England where 2 feet of blower pow fell at many resorts especially Jay Peak, Sunday River and Sugarloaf. Sunday River has seen 47 inches in the past 7 days which is a report we rarely see on the East! 12-18 additional inches are on tap for Western Maine Wednesday/Thursday!
SHORT TERM FORECAST:
The Pacific Northwest will be the wettest this week with very high snow levels (Rain at base and mid elevations). There is some hope of a powder day by Thursday as colder air filters in providing 5-10 inches of snow in many areas. The northern Cascades near Baker or perhaps in Canada at Whistler are favored. Not sure it’s worth the chase with a “Mank” layer below the new snow. Snow showers and much colder temps continue into Saturday (Could freshen things up for the weekend).
The Sierra is on our “watch list” for several storms through early next week. The first provides powder during the day Thursday (5-10 upper elevations) so last chair at most resorts could be decent albeit much lighter amount at the bases (Northern Sierra favored). Snow will be dense below 8500 feet so expect variable conditions (Quick moving system). Less snow will fall in the Southern Sierra (Mammoth) so the further north will likely bring better odds of freshness.
The next system has somewhat colder air (6500-7,000 foot snow levels) and a bit more moisture that will fall early Friday through early Saturday. Currently models take the highest amounts over Mono County (Mammoth). I am seeing 6-14 inches for the northern Sierra and 9-18 inches for the south. 1st chair Saturday will be good at many resorts with snow tapering during the morning (Increased visibility). Additional snowfall next week is likely in the Sierra and will be addressed in our long term forecast.
Below: Total snowfall for the Sierra through early Tuesday
The Rockies are in between a split flow. Most of the moisture in the Cascades this week zooms over Idaho, Wyoming, and the northern Wasatch. Snow levels will be around 6,000 feet. If you must chase mid week my focus would be Idaho where 5-9 inches are likely from Sun Valley to Brundage on Thursday. Weakening energy then hits the northern Wasatch (I-80 and north are favored) late Thursday and early Friday (3-6). The Tetons get glazed for Friday morning (1-3). Colorado action may have to wait until the extended period when the stronger Sierra system this weekend takes a southerly track over the 4 corners and may swing north through the area Sunday/Monday.
New England: This report focuses on the West but it’s hard to ignore 2-3 foot snowfall totals in New England! They have absolutely crushed it in the past few days and up to 4 feet in many spots over the past 7 days. Another system is going to grab freshies Tuesday night into Thursday. Persistent light to moderate snow will be falling in the northern mountains with another 3-7 inches from Stowe to Killington Resorts further East from Conway into Sunday River should see 6-10 inches. Sugarloaf could nab 12-17 additional inches! Peak snowfall will be mid day Wednesday through Thursday morning. Last chair Wednesday or 1st chair Thursday!
EXTENDED FORECAST: The Sierra system this weekend swings well south into Arizona late Saturday (Flagstaff may deserve watching however it’s possible heavier moisture falls towards the Tucson Mountains). Moisture will stream into Southern Utah Saturday night and eventually further north Sunday/Monday. It’s possible higher elevations of northern Utah (Cottonwoods favored) sneak out a powder day late Sunday. The Tetons also get moisture pushed north under westerly flow (Moderate amounts possible). . Depending on what model you look at Colorado could benefit late Sunday through Tuesday. Moisture will be streaming in from the south (Persistent light to moderate moisture) first impacting the southern areas and eventually bringing some snow to all mountains Sunday night into Monday under westerly flow (Good wind pattern for many mountains). I’m not calling out amounts just yet but increased confidence for most of Colorado early next week (May not produce any single deep event but could add up over 2 days).
The Sierra grabs another decent storm Monday night into Tuesday.