Winter Returns To The West | 1-2 Feet For The Cascades, Rockies Mid-Week [Powderchasers]

Winter Returns To The West | 1-2 Feet For The Cascades, Rockies Mid-Week [Powderchasers]


Winter Returns To The West | 1-2 Feet For The Cascades, Rockies Mid-Week [Powderchasers]


Total snowfall over the west in the next 7 days through December 22 | Image: WXBell

[Forecast Courtesy of Powderchasers]


– Summary 12/15/17 0730 MST

The good news is that the ridge is slowly breaking down for the west with progressively stronger systems likely next week. Most of the moisture is still being forced north into the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. The weekend will feature light snow for the Pacific Northwest and a moderate refresh for certain areas of the Tetons, central Idaho, and southern Montana. The Wasatch is in the cards for a tease this weekend with heavier snow likely mid week. I would chase into the Pacific Northwest early next week followed by the Rockies mid or late week.

Short Term Forecast:

We suggested chases this week to the East Coast. The storm delivered as forecasted with mid week totals in the 15-20 inch range in central and southern New England by Wednesday morning. The northern mountains caught up with cold air orographic snowfall (NW winds) providing nearly 2 feet near Stowe and Jay Peak.

Pic from Jay Peak Thursday morning | Photo: Luke Stone/

In the west expect light snow from The Pacific Northwest to move into the Panhandle of Idaho tonight and into Montana and Wyoming by early Saturday morning. Snow totals will be light to moderate in most locations (3-6) with perhaps higher amounts at the upper elevations of The Tetons. Total moisture for the Tetons is less than 1/2 inch of liquid (4-6 inches at 10:1). Colder temperatures by mid day Saturday may enhance snowfall ratios in Wyoming or southern Montana so amounts may creep higher. I suspect some powder by late AM Saturday in these areas (2-5) and perhaps another 3-5 that falls Saturday PM through midnight.

The Wasatch will get teased with 3-5 inches at higher elevations and less in the Valleys around Park City Mountain. It may not be a long distance chase but peak snowfall in the Rockies will be Saturday AM through 2PM (Day storm- Ski times may be best at lunch). Light or moderate snow will increase over the Pacific Northwest Sunday afternoon through Monday. I expect decent amounts may fall over the north Cascades (4-8) during this period with leftovers aimed at the Panhandle of Idaho. Snow increases early next week in the extended forecast.

Extended Forecast:

Im excited in this forecast for some areas but less optimistic for others. The highlights next week will include a strong cold front that slams into the Pacific Northwest Tuesday PM that should drag 1-2 feet of snow over many areas of Washington and Oregon. That system drops just north of the Sierra (May get a tease) and over most of the Rockies by Wednesday morning.

Moderate snow is possible from Montana, Wyoming, Utah and perhaps Colorado mid to late next week. Currently Im forecasting a wide area or 1-2 feet for the PNW, and 5-12 inches for many spots in the northern Rockies. The ingredients are in place for the Wasatch to see an excess of a foot if NW flow and cold air produce some magic especially in the Cottonwoods. Its not showing up on the map (Wildcard). It’s still far enough away that models can change. The good news is that snow will be falling again mid next week over a wide area of the Rockies.

– Powderchaser Steve

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