POWDER ALERT- CASCADES, PANHANDLE OF IDAHO- 2-3 FEET IN THE NEXT 5 DAYS
Summary. PM Forecast 12/16/2017 – Forecaster: Powderchaser Steve
Its Saturday night and am watching a strong system evolving off the coast of Vancouver Island. This will pump significant moisture into the Cascades beginning Sunday (Heaviest falls in the afternoon and overnight) and will impact primarily mountains from Mount Baker through Stevens Pass. Warmer air to the south may produce significant upper elevation snow near Snowqualmie but rain at the base. The Panhandle of Idaho will do well especially through Wednesday in the northern regions (colder) as well as southern BC. Whistler should see decent snow through the period with Washington State on the higher side by Wednesday.
Short Term Forecast
Snow will start falling in the western Cascades Sunday morning with a warming trend in the afternoon. Expect light snow at the bases and perhaps 2-5 inches at the summits of most resorts for last chair (Dense snow). Rain/snow mix may be falling at the base of Stevens with areas south seeing rain at the bases. Snow continues Sunday night with a slight cooling trend by Monday morning in the northern Cascades.
Below: Slight cooling noted on models in northern Washington Monday morning. Warm air south.
Pow may be “right side up” lower density near Baker by early AM Monday with an approaching weak cold front. Another 6-10 inches likely for 1st chair in the northern Cascades (On top of some mank from the pervious day). Colder air works it’s way into the central Cascades (Stevens and Snowqualmie) by 10AM Monday with any rain/snow mix at the bases changing to all snow. Additional snow showers continue Monday for the central and southern Cascades from Snowqualmie to Crystal (Cooling). Snow will taper off late Monday. The Good: Decent late dump Sunday into Monday morning. The Bad: Warm temps Sunday/Sunday night don’t cool until daybreak Monday from north to south as moisture decreases. Lower level mank topped with some smooth medium cream likely.
The Panhandle of Idaho should fare well on the next several storm systems. Colder air trapped in the northern valleys will provide moderate snow for Schweitzer late Sunday into Monday (5-8). Snow levels will be slightly lower at these inland resorts so it’s possible late Sunday or early Monday provide a nice refresh. More snow moves into the Panhandle Tuesday-Wednesday. Resorts in southern BC like Red or Whitewater could benefit.
Heavy moisture moves into the Cascades late Monday night through Tuesday. A strong cold friend enhances precipitation Tuesday crashing snow levels to below pass levels. Moderate to heavy snow will be falling over most of the Cascades. It’s possible that Stevens reaps the highest rewards followed by Crystal. Expect 12-18 inches or more of additional snowfall with this system. Moderate or heavy snow will be falling over the Panhandle of Idaho and northern Montana (7-12) during this period. The Good: Decent snow totals through late Tuesday with cooling temperatures The Bad: Strong winds Tuesday may keep upper lifts closed in the western Cascades. You may need to Wednesday to ski upper terrain?
Below: Total snowfall through Wednesday PM. 103 inches max is most likely Mount Baker (Not the ski area). Good totals for most ski areas in WA and North central ID
Moisture drops south over the Oregon Cascades late Tuesday through Wednesday. There may be a chase opportunity from WA to OR if your willing to make the drive south.
Rockies: See extended forecast below.
Snow form the Pacific Northwest will be entering the Tetons beginning Wednesday morning. I forecasted 12-18 weekly totals on my last broadcast which will likely need downgrading. 4-8 inches forecasted for today (NOAA had up to 11 in the Tetons) never materialized with weak moisture, light winds and the lack of orographics (OOPS). Models are now pumping out 4-9 inches for the Tetons Wednesday morning through the evening. Snow may linger into Thursday but it’s unlikely to be significant. Confidence: High for the Tetons Wednesday (4-9). Southern Montana resorts will see similar amounts as the Tetons near Big Sky.
The Wasatch grabs the cold front late AM Wednesday through Thursday morning. NW flow may kick off 5-10 inches for the upper elevations of a broad area of the Wasatch. Low elevation snow is likely with this event helping out base areas. Amounts will be fine tuned as we get closer to midweek.
Colorado is in the game late Wednesday through Thursday. Wind directions are NW, SW, and east at different times during the storm. I suspect light to moderate snow Statewide on Thursday (2-5). Models show higher amounts just west of Glenwood Springs so its possible the Powderhorn tips the scale?
Another system is showing up on models for Colorado late next week. That might bring some significant snow to the 4 corners and central mountains as we approach Christmas Eve! It may also deliver much needed snow to New Mexico. Colorado and New Mexico might see at White Xmas! Its too far out on models to have confidence. Santa might be grabbing faceshots?
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