[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]
Low pressure currently centered over southern California (Raining in LA and San Diego) is moving east and will mainly impact resorts in the southern San Juan mountains Thursday PM to Friday AM.
The central and northern mountains along I-70 saw 2-4 inches fall Wednesday (Split between daytime snow and overnight) that may be fresh this morning for some fun turns. I believe Loveland may have had 2-3 inches overnight. Light snow will continue along I-70 this morning before diminishing by afternoon. Moderate snow is currently falling on Vail Pass where the roads are lightly snowpacked. I expect another 2-3 inches is possible in most of the mountain locations of both northern and central Colorado.
Short Term Forecast:
Models are not overly bullish on amounts on the next system pushing in from the southern tips of California tonight. It’s currently snowing at Mammoth Mountain (2-3 inches at the base per Telemetry) and higher amounts at the summit. That system pushes east over Arizona early this morning kicking off light snow near Flagstaff today before turning a bit more moderate tonight. Another 3-5 inches may fall at Snowbowl for fresh turns on Friday.
In Colorado, a southerly flow turning SW will favor the southern San Juans. Silverton, Telluride, Purgatory, and Wolf Creek will all see moderate snowfall. I am a bit more bullish for Purgatory and Wolf Creek due to being further south. The main low is dropping well into Arizona and New Mexico. Light snow late Thursday morning will turn moderate by 2 PM. Snow will continue into Thursday evening.
I am expecting 2-4 inches near Telluride, 3-6 Silverton, and higher amounts further south and east. It’s possible that Wolf Creek sneak out 4-8 inches of high-quality snow, primarily afternoon and evening tonight. Purgatory may not be too far behind. Snow will be falling well into New Mexico and Texas by Friday morning. Ruidoso ski area near the Texas border gets freshies! Taos Ski Valley sits a bit east and north or the highest moisture so gets leftovers of 2-3 inches. Santa Fe may have slightly higher amounts.
In the extended forecast, I am very bullish for several storm systems to impact the Pacific Northwest. The most likely scenario will be light to moderate events this weekend through early next week. There will be breaks or clearing between them. Moderate to heavy snow is likely mid next week in the Pacific Northwest. Additional systems are likely to continue according to the latest model data. The highest snow totals next week will focus on the western Cascades and western BC, with lower amounts in the eastern Cascades and central BC. Areas east, including Schweitzer, will still see decent amounts but less than it’s neighbors to its west. Northern Montana including Whitefish could also score (Most snow earlier this season has fallen further south). The Tetons are a wildcard for mid or late next week.
Leftovers will spill south into central Idaho and perhaps the Tetons and Wasatch mid next week (*wildcards). Some models keep moisture north of Utah (Euro) where the GFS takes some light or moderate snow into Utah and Colorado by Wednesday. The long range models show a continued push of occasional moisture for the northwest through at least December 19th. Its possible some of these additional systems drop further south towards the Sierra and the central Rockies (*I will pinpoint as we get closer).
— Powderchaser Steve
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