UPDATED POW CAST
Quick update. 4/11/18 AM
The next moderate to strong winter storm is pushing snow into the Cascades today. Light to moderate snow will develop over most mountains today in the Pacific Northwest (Crystal has 2 inches as of 6AM). Expect 2-5 inches today in most of the Washington Cascades with 1-4 in Oregon. Snow continues tonight enhancing somewhat with colder temps. Another 3-7 inches is likely from 3PM Wednesday through 6AM Thursday in the Cascades (Oregon will see slightly less). Total snowfall between Wednesday morning and Thursday should range from 5-12 inches.
The Sierra is a sure bet for 9-12 inches above 7,000 feet. The Good: Overnight snow Wednesday.
I have been watching the models closely on chases for Montana, Utah and Colorado. Warm air is in place for most of the Rockies through Thursday morning. The cold air does not reach southern Montana until mid Thursday morning (Decreasing temps) and drops significantly late Thursday PM (Quality of snow may be wet at lower elevations). There will be a significant uptick o snow over Bridger, Big Sky, and Red Lodge at some point Thursday morning. It may not happen until the lifts open or slightly later. Storm skiing is a given Thursday afternoon in Montana. Amounts should range from 5-9 inches at upper elevations of Big Sky and 6-11 inches near Bridger Bowl by 4PM Thursday. Snow continues Thursday night with colder temperatures (Additional 4-8). The Good: Snow totals will exceed 15 inches at most mountain locations of central Montana by early Friday. The Bad: Highest intensity may happen from 10AM Thursday to 6PM (Not much overnight snow). Temperatures will be on the warm side until late Thursday afternoon. Wildcard: Snow begins earlier than models are indicating and totals exceed 8 inches by noon (Might be a stretch). Snow continues Thursday night so Friday morning will be refreshed with some blower (4-8 additional).
Below: Heavy snow in a short window for Big Sky Thursday morning through late day, before intensity decreasing somewhat after midnight. Day snow plus overnight bonus Thursday. Consensus between the lines (Dark line is the mean) is not great. These plumes can be overdone, so I often subtract 20%
Wyoming gets another shot of 12 inches between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. Snow will be dense at lower elevations and slightly better up top. Rain may be falling in the Valley until Thursday mid morning (Slight cool down) before changing back to rain late. Expect the highest amounts over 9,000 feet and perhaps 3-6 inches above 7,000 feet. Most snowfall will happen from 2AM Thursday to 6PM. Early morning risers on Tetons Pass will be waking up to 4-7 new and snowing through most of the day. Grand Targhee may be a good option as well. Don’t expect blower as its not getting cold until late Thursday.
The chase decisions may bring my gut to Utah where very warm temperatures today (40’s-50’s) will create some deep slush. Cold air drops overhead Thursday morning (Mid morning) and will create a solid 4 hour window of 2 inch per hour snow rates. Expect 8 inches in the Cottonwoods by 3PM Thursday and 3-6 inches in the upper elevations of Park City. The areas north of Interstate 80 may see less? I would plan on riding late Thursday or early Friday. Snow will decrease Thursday afternoon and turn showery through Friday morning. Cold NW flow could produce some magic for the Cottonwoods Thursday night. I would not be surprised to wake up to another 4-8 inches Friday AM. Total snowfall for the highest peaks south of the Great Salt Lake should be in the 12-18 inch range (Thursday/Friday). Some higher amounts are possible. The Park City range will stay in the 4-7 inch range.
Below: Good consensus on amounts with the dark line the mean amount of snow. These models tend to be overdone, often by 20%
My confidence in Colorado is wind direction. Moisture is somewhat limited bringing snow totals in the 4-8 inch range for many locations Thursday night into Friday. The models show higher amounts over Steamboat. NW flow will favor many of the resorts we saw last weekend. Look for Breckenridge, Aspen, Steamboat, and Vail to take an early lead. Telluride can also do well with this pattern. Winds shift to the north mid morning Friday and could land some decent amounts over Loveland Pass, Berthoud or Winter Park. It’s likely some areas will hit double digits late Friday. Bottom line: Decent storm thats not overly cold or moist but has good wind direction for snow to many areas of northern and central Colorado. Overnight snow Thursday is a bonus for any chase. May not be super deep or dry but it’s April! Snow may continue into late Friday with additional light or moderate amounts for Saturday morning (Wildcard). Additional snow will be falling Friday night into Saturday for most of the northern and central mountains. Expect another 3-6 inches for Saturday morning bringing storm totals up to double digits for most locations. The quality will improve as temperatures drop.
Below: Vail Pass- Not good consensus on amounts with the dark line the mean. Several lines are above or below. Models will come into better consensus in the next 24 hours.