SNOW RETURNS TO THE WEST IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS. 1-2 FEET LIKELY IN THE CASCADES EARLY NEXT WEEK BEFORE MOVING OVER THE ROCKIES MID WEEK
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 and into the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. The weekend will feature light snow for the Cascades and a moderate refresh for certain areas of the Tetons, central Idaho, and southern Montana. The Wasatch is in the mix this weekend with light snow and perhaps heavier snow by mid next week. I would chase in the north Cascades early next week before moisture drops south over most of WA and OR before heading east over the northern Rockies mid to late next 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. Below is a pic from Jay Peak Thursday morning- Photo: Luke Stone- Powderchsasers.com
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. 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.
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). Its 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.
Announcement: There is a fundraiser at Brighton this Saturday called Methodology that is raising funds for a new Avalanche beacon area. This is a snowboarder slalom competition open to everyone with a $10 admission fee (100% gets donated to the Avalanche Beacon Park). You can get more info here
Below: Total snowfall over the west in the next 7 days through December 22
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