POWDER ALERT! FEET OF SNOW LIKELY FOR NORTHERN COLORADO, NORTHERN UTAH, TETONS.
There are 2 systems aimed at the northern Rockies with very cold air, dry pow and perhaps storm totals of 20-30 inches by late XMAS day. The highest totals will be found in northern Utah, Wyoming and Colorado with other areas of the Rockies seeing less. I would chase to northern Oregon, Tetons, northern Colorado or Utah during the next 24 hours. Santa will be hung up in the Rockies getting face shots on XMAS eve so if you live outside that area your presents will be delayed!
Short Term Forecast:
Its been snowing all day in the Tetons with generally 5-8 inches at upper elevations of Targhee and JHMR (Dry density with wind loading). I sampled the goods at Jackson today with blower pow at the summit. that had filled in nicely with strong winds (Hero, let it rip layer from must 5-7 inches by 4PM). Heavy snow will fall tonight (5-10 additional) with light snow showers early Saturday. Westerly winds should produce decent amounts with Jackson possibly edging out Targhee slightly (Targhee prefers NW winds). Expect 5-10 inches new at JHMR for opening and 4-7 for Targhee. Gusty winds tonight and tomorrow will create increased Avalanche danger especially in exposed terrain. Total snowfall from this morning through Saturday will be 10-16 inches (5-7 fell Friday).
Snow will push into the Wasatch early Saturday morning (midnight near Logan) that eventually brings 7-15 inches at many resorts. The favored areas for this storm may end up being from Logan to Park City. The Cottonwoods (Brighton, Alta, Solitude, Bird) may see less initially Saturday morning but may catch up later in the day (Cold air and westerly flow). Snow will be falling into Saturday evening. Powder Mountain often does well with this pattern (West, NW flow) and perhaps Beaver tips the scales (Logan) again as they did earlier this season. I would choose 10 AM storm ski chairs up north in Utah and last chairs down south in the Cottonwoods or Park City. The Cottonwoods may continue to see snowfall into Saturday night? Every resort in northern Utah is in the playing field on this one! Another storm slams the Wasatch for XMAS.
Colorado grabs decent snowfall Friday night into Saturday. Expect 6-10 inches near Steamboat and 3-7 inches elsewhere along or north Of I-70. Its possible that slightly higher amounts fall near Snowmass, Sunlight, and perhaps Powderhorn as we forecasted on the last storm. This storm could over perform in some spots with cold air orographics especially from Vail Pass west towards the Elk mountain range. Peak snowfall will be during the day Saturday (10AM to 5PM). Light snow lingers into Saturday night (1st chair Sunday could still be good).
The southern Cascades of Washington near White Pass extending to Mount Hood in Oregon will see significant snowfall tonight into Saturday morning (1st chair). expect 6-14 inches in these areas and chase tonight or early Saturday morning.
Storm #2 enters the Pacific Northwest Sunday morning with snow levels plummeting to near sea level for XMAS day. Light snow will fall in the higher hills near Seattle and moderate snow will be falling in the mountains favoring central and southern zones Sunday (Stevens, Snoqualmie Pass, Alpental, Crystal). This system moves into the Panhandle of Idaho late Sunday (Moderate snow -Schweitzer and North Montana near Missoula). XMAS day brings the action to the Tetons, central Idaho, southern Montana and the Wasatch. Snow will be falling in these areas by sunrise Monday. Expect 5-10 inches in a widespread area of the mountains during this period (Storm ski while everyone is asleep from XMAS eve parties- No gifts as Santa is in the White Room). Get off the slopes Monday afternoon just as the crowds approach!
Colorado grabs respectable leftovers XMAS day through Tuesday morning. Another 6-10 inches is likely near Steamboat with 4-8 inches elsewhere. This storm will impact a wide area of Colorado from the northern San Juans including central and northern regions. Storm ski Christmas Day and catch last chair for the deepest run.
Light snow is possible over the northern Rockies by the middle of next week.
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