SNOW RETURNS TO THE WEST LATE THIS WEEK. THE EAST GETS VERY ACTIVE IN THE LONG RANGE FORECAST
Summary JANUARY 2, 2017 AM REPORT
High Pressure continues this week for most of the West. An approaching storm system may tease the Sierra late this week before tapping colder air over the Rockies. The Rockies may get a light to moderate event especially the Tetons, Wasatch, and most of central or northern Colorado. It’s too far out for confidence on amounts but high confidence for “Something” late week! New England grabs heavy snow along the coast of Maine mid week (2-4 inches inland mountains) with heavy snow possible by late next weekend or early the following week.
Short Term Forecast
It feels good that I managed to chase (Knee injury included), to Montana last Friday/Saturday as high pressure is in firm control through the majority of this week. I was able to grab 10-15 inches of powder at Montana Snowbowl. Our forecast for 2 feet held true for much of the MT/ID border and to some extent for the Pacific Northwest. Models originally had a strong cold front setting up over these areas Saturday that ended up pushing further east in Montana (30 miles east of the Missoula). Snow levels stayed high Saturday (Less snow and dense in many areas of the Panhandle). Schweitzer, Lookout Pass, and most of the Cascades picked up decent snowfall (12-24) with snow levels staying high (Mixed precipitation at lower elevations of the western Cascades). While it was not the ideal storm due to warmer temps it provided good base building and deep snow in many areas.
The Tetons got Skunked Friday/Saturday as moisture edged into northern Wyoming but never pushed further south. The models did not pick up on this until late Friday night when I posted an update. They scored 5-10 inches in the days just prior the weekend keeping conditions fresh.
The week ahead features high pressure for much of the west with a storm possible for the Sierra late this week. Models show high snow levels (Above 8,000 feet) with moderate snow possible favoring the southern ranges. It’s possible Mammoth scores due to elevation but overall the system lacks cold air with model discrepancies on amounts. The GFS shows light to moderate snow (further north) while the Euro trended a bit higher especially in the southern Sierra. Things will come into agreement hopefully by midweek. Peak snowfall should be late Thursday into Friday. This is not a significant system but anything is welcoming at this point. The Cascades stay wet with light rain at the bases and snow at upper elevations. New England grabs more snow along the coast of Maine than the inland resorts (5-10 inches in northern coastal areas) with 2-4 inches likely in many mountain locations mid week.
Below: Ensembles showing a retreat of the high pressure ridge in the west (Weak Trough-Storm system) by late this weekend. New England grabs cold air and a moderate to strong system as depicted below.
The Rockies get a cold front by late Saturday afternoon bringing a good chance of snow to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho (south/central), and Colorado. Snow levels start out high and drop with a cold front Saturday night into Sunday. I’m calling for 4-6 inches in many locations with perhaps higher amounts in the Tetons, Cottonwoods, and perhaps western Colorado. I am posting a map below of total snowfall though the weekend in the Rockies. These amounts are certain to change with higher confidence likely on my next post. This is not a significant system but should offer a light or moderate refresh.
Image: Total snowfall through Sunday afternoon for the Rockies (low confidence on amounts currently).
Looking beyond the weekend an additional system is likely to move into the west in the middle of next week. The ensembles hint that this could be slightly stronger and take a similar path over the Sierra and Rockies. The East Coast is likely to see moderate to heavy snowfall late this weekend into early the following week.
Image below: Ensembles bringing in another weak or moderate system mid next week for the west with continued low pressure for the East.
High pressure may settle into the west in the period following next weeks system. Its too far out to gain confidence however we don’t see anything noteworthy at this time. The East may end up in the headlines in the long range forecast.
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