The hose is open in the Pacific | Image (+Cover): NOAA
The hose is open in the Pacific | Image (+Cover): NOAA

[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]

Forecast Date: 12/9/18 PM


Heavy snow fell over much of North Carolina yesterday with up to a foot in the Raleigh Durham Triangle. Cataloochee Ski Area reported 14 inches of fresh powder on Sunday! With a 59 inch base of primarily, man-made snow, that mountain would have allowed you to point it straight. If you’re lucky and found the #1 black diamond run that was open, a face shot would have woken you up on Sunday. Snow will taper off in NC this morning.

The Pacific Northwest including BC will see steady snow every 24 hours this week and even the extended leads me to believe it’s a game changer for the PNW. The Rockies get leftovers.

No! It’s not I-70! Raleigh Durham North Carolina (*do you really think anyone has snow tires?) Photo: Jeremy Adkins- Sparton Photo

Moderate snow was falling as of 6 PM Sunday in the Cascades. The Mt Baker website predicted 10″ for Sunday on their website. 7-9 inches are likely this morning in most mountain ranges of the northern Cascades (Mount Baker, Hurricane Ridge). Whistler Blackcomb will also score similar amounts. Areas of the southern Cascades may see lower amounts with 3-7 inches at Crystal, Stevens (*Central Cascades) and Alpental. Snow will taper to showers this morning.

Stevens Pass is snow covered as of 7 PM Sunday.

Snow is falling over the Panhandle of Idaho, especially north towards Schweitzer late Sunday into Monday (3-7).

Short Term Forecast:

The next system rolls into the PNW Tuesday night into Wednesday with even higher amounts. It’s likely the Cascades and western BC score 9-15 inches or more with this system. Cold temperatures will enhance snowfall midweek. Initially, the northern Cascades are favored before winds shift Westerly or NW late. This may form convergence over Stevens Pass into Wednesday morning. The southern Cascades and areas near Mount Hood also score respectable amounts.

The Panhandle of Idaho will get deep by mid-morning Wednesday with some healthy amounts favoring the central and northern regions. Schweitzer is likely to nab 9-14 inches through this period. Areas south towards Brundage will see moderate amounts. Even Sun Valley is on tap for some snowfall Wednesday, with the highest amounts found on the northern flanks of the Sawtooths (3-7″). Moisture will be pushing east into the Tetons and possibly south into the Wasatch.

Snow continues to drive south and east into the Tetons and Wasatch Wednesday. Current models are bringing light snow as early as midnight Tuesday with moderate amounts Wednesday (6-9). Confidence is higher for the Tetons up north, and a bit of a wildcard for the Wasatch. It’s likely that Utah resorts score an average of 3-7 inches with perhaps higher amounts in the Cottonwoods. Beaver Mountain opens Wednesday and is likely to see powder for the start of the lifts. In case you have not visited Beaver (Ski the Beav) a full price ticket is only $50. If you wear blue jeans, no one think twice! I suggest you check it out! The terrain is actually more than worth it and with minimal folks on the hill and decent blue and low black terrain– I chase there every season.

Colorado grabs leftovers Wednesday afternoon and Thursday with generally light or moderate amounts favoring the north-central mountains. Due to PM timing of the heaviest moisture, a Thursday morning chase may be worth it, but it’s unlikely to top double digits.

Extended Forecast:

The long-term models show high confidence of another moderate or heavy event for the Pacific Northwest Thursday/Friday and again late next weekend! The models are pushing some of that moisture south into the northern Sierra (Powder is possible late week or the weekend). It is likely that many resorts in the Pacific Northwest will open a decent amount of terrain late this week or early the following. The same will go for resorts in BC.

Ensembles showing a low-pressure trough in the Northwest pushing further south into the northern Sierra next weekend.

Snow might continue to fall in the PNW at times to start off week #2 on December 17th. (Low confidence this many days out) with a slight warming trend (Rain or wet snow at the bases). Models show decent moisture and a better chance of higher snow amounts dragging into the Rockies during this timeframe or later in the week. The ensemble data which has low confidence this many days out shows a trough over the Rockies as we approach the December 22nd timeframe.

Pure speculation at this point, but snow is possible for the Rockies pre Xmas. The image below is for December 20th.

While the next 7 days is going to be a game changer for the Pacific Northwest, my confidence for a stormy pattern into the middle to end of December is decent. Enjoy the powder everyone!

–Powderchaser Steve

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