POWDER ALERT! SIERRA, CASCADES, WASATCH, CENTRAL IDAHO, TETONS- COLORADO ON WATCH
April 4, 2017, 9PM UPDATED
There is a ton of weather buzz in the chase cave tonight! First, Colorado just got nailed over parts of Summit County where 14-16 inches fell during the day! I chased to Beaver Creek (4-5 on the cams) and found 8-9 inches of blower at the summits! It may be the first time I have ever resort skied POW with completely empty trails (Ghost Town USA). From Beaver Creek I chased to Breckenridge for another 7-10 inches of fresh pow at upper elevations and currently at 18 inches (Since 6AM). Lower elevations at both resorts had much less snow. Thank You Mountain Nomads Powder Shuttle for alerting me (They are based in Breck and can chase you to the pow). Currently it’s dumping in Boulder and cameras show snow over Eldora with not much moisture showing up on the Avalanche SWE. Tomorrow will see deep leftovers at many resorts. The long term forecast brings significant moisture into the West with warm air followed by colder temperatures late in the weekend. Snow is currently winding down in Colorado.
Snow showers are diminishing over most of the central and northern mountains of Colorado. Another 1-2 inches is possible at many resorts West of the Divide and perhaps 3-5 inches in southern mountains. It’s still snowing moderately along I-25 south of Denver along the spine of the Front Range Mountains under North winds. Most of the snow to the south will be confined to eastern areas of the mountains. Summit County picked up another 5-7 inches since 3PM. Taos is grabbing light snow currently (3-4 on the snow report this morning) with models showing light or moderate amounts at best overnight (Most action is just north or east).
Chases this week? The Cascades will grab light snow or rain at the bases this week with perhaps as much as 11-14 inches at the summits over 5500 feet through Thursday near Mount Baker. Central and southern areas will see 5-10 inches at the summits. Moderate snow during the day Wednesday (Warm) will taper PM only to return Thursday AM (Slightly colder but still a mixed bag at lower elevations). It might be chase worthy Thursday at upper elevations of the north or central Cascades. A much colder system enters the Cascades this weekend with moderate snowfall likely that may continue into next week (Stay tuned).
Significant system is aimed at the Sierra beginning late Thursday night. Strong winds and relatively high snow levels (7-8,000) bring heavy wet snow to all mid mountains and upper peaks (8-14). Heavy wet snow continues Friday night (Slush at upper elevation roads) near the Lake).
A cold front will move in Saturday (Models are flip flopping timing). I suspect by 7-8 AM Snow densities will rapidly decrease with another 5-11 inches (On top of 2-3 feet of wet cream) of decent quality by noon (Winds may continue to be an issue but should decrease by Saturday afternoon). Snow may decrease behind the cold front late Saturday morning in the north Sierra but should continue in the southern zones (Mammoth). Totals? I currently hold to my original forecast of 3-5 feet over Mammoth and perhaps 2-3 feet for the northern Sierra. Higher amounts are possible along the Sierra Crest! Is it worth a chase? Many caveats including wet snow early in the storm, strong winds Friday/early Saturday so its a gamble in my eyes (Its legal on the Nevada side).
Below: Friday morning surge of moisture over the Sierra working from north to south!
Moisture takes aim at Idaho under SW flow (Warm temperatures) as early as Friday (Sun Valley might reap rewards at the peaks). Heavy snow will also begin over the Tetons and northern Wasatch of Utah late Friday into Saturday (Warm temperatures). Expect 5-11 inches for upper elevations of northern Utah (Above 8,000) and similar or higher amounts for the Tetons (Mid or upper mountain only). Cold air moves into Idaho Saturday (Will increase snowfall and quality with westerly winds in central and southern zones). That cold front gets to the Wasatch and Tetons late Saturday into Sunday. Snow qualities will improve for Sunday morning with moderate additional amounts likely. Cold Westerly flow continues Sunday/Monday with snow showers continuing (May be highest over the Tetons). Bottom Line: The heaviest moisture will be Friday/Saturday however qualities are improving Sunday/Monday (Frosting). My picks would be late Saturday or early Sunday (Winds may keep upper lifts on hold Saturday). Monday could still be good at JHMR (Employees only) or Grand Targhee.
Colorado grabs a good dose of moisture Saturday night into Sunday under SW flow. This may favor the San Juans however models show the system edging north perhaps near Gunnison. Its going to be wet snow but could be heavy at times in some areas. NW flow kicks in Sunday late AM into Monday which will favor the northern and sections of the central Colorado mountains with light or moderate good density snow. Its too far out to speculate amounts in Colorado. My early guess is central and southern Colorado may fare best Saturday night where the north plays into the mix Sunday and Monday.
Below: Total snowfall for the Sierra through Saturday- Note: 20-30 inches for the north and perhaps 30-50 inches in the highest elevations of the southern Sierra. Much less at lower elevations!
The Pacific Northwest will stay on our radar early next week with additional systems slated to arrive. These may contain some cold air! This may impact the northern Rockies early next week. The Ensembles show a trend for some drier weather mid next week where the operational models show another system for the Pacific Northwest. Below: Ensembles for Monday next week.
PLEASE LIKE OUR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM PAGE! If you’re addicted to powder and reading this forecast, please consider a donation to Powderchasers! For all donations of $50 or more you earn powder turns with Powderchasers, custom forecasts, and a swag Phunkshun Wear Balaclava! There is a new Balaclava that is in production so please be patient as it’s due to us in the next 2-3 weeks. 10% gets donated to avalanche forecast centers in the West.