ITS PUKING FRESHIES IN THE CASCADES AND NORTHERN ROCKIES- 12-20 ADDITIONAL TONIGHT/SATURDAY
Summary. 12/29/17 PM REPORT
I am on the chase currently following Weather models, radar, snow telemetry and live reports. I flew from Florida at 3AM yesterday to Spokane Washington and rented the cheapest car I could find ($50) to drive to Missoula last night to meet my chase team late last night. I drove a sub compact (Thanks Enterprise) over Interstate 90 to land a 10 inch powder day at Montana Snowbowl this morning. Snow will increase tonight over much of Washington, Idaho, Montana and northern Wyoming making several chase points possible for Saturday morning. I can’t believe my sub compact rental made it over Lookout Pass last night (Tip: Never rent a car without first making sure you have newish tires or deeper tread).
Short Term Forecast
The Cascades saw 10-20 inches of wet snow with strong winds in the past 24 hours at upper elevations. Avalanche danger is rapidly rising due to high moisture content of the snowfall. Warm temperatures held firm in the Cascades including the Panhandle of Idaho and even Missoula this morning (upper 20’s to low 30’s) where I am posting. Cold air was found north towards Whitefish (10 inches last night) and perhaps in southern Canada towards Whitewater where less snow was reported. Mount Baker held onto below freezing temps with the north Cascades recording 15 inches in the past 24 hours. Crystal Mountain in the south Cascades had rain at the base with 10-15 inches at the summit with most upper lifts closed today. Cold air is going to really enhance snow totals tonight in the central and north Cascades.
Cold air will drop south into the Panhandle of Idaho, Oregon and Washington Cascades and through most of the northern Rockies tonight. Expect 9-15 inches from Stevens Pass to Mount Baker (Good quality) for your first chairs on Saturday. It’s possible that a convergence zone (Cold air pushing east with westerly winds) sets up over Stevens Pass or Interstate 90 tonight enhancing snowfall amounts. Crystal should see an additional 5-9 inches tonight (Good quality on top of the 16 inches of wet mank last night).
Below: Heavy snow tonight over north/central Montana and the Idaho Panhandle.
Chase points will highlight Stevens, resorts along I-90 and Baker tomorrow morning (Crystal wildcard) extending to the Panhandle of Idaho. Schweitzer located in northern Idaho will rapidly cool tonight with an overnight dump of 9-12 inches. Areas towards Lookout Pass in the southern Panhandle may see higher amounts (3 -4 foot storm totals). Montana still looks deep from Whitefish to Montana Snowbowl (7-10 overnight into Saturday morning). Big Sky will see lower amounts in the 4-7 inch range with Red Lodge perhaps seeing higher amounts. You can’t go wrong with most of these spots for Saturday AM. Southern BC towards Whitewater may also nab 5-10 inches tonight.
The Tetons are putting mystery into my forecast. NOAA has 20-30 inches forecasted. I don’t see cold air in place until tomorrow morning as most moisture is decreasing. Snow ratios will be less in the Tetons with perhaps 3-7 tonight and 2-4 on Saturday. Winds will be westerly with JHMR favored over Targhee. Light snow will continue in the Tetons through Sunday morning with some additional accumulations. They have logged very respectable amounts over the past 7 days so conditions are continuing to be good at upper and mid elevations (Still need more snow low at JHMR- Targhee good Top to Bottom). Below are 2 maps for the Tetons showing significant discrepancy from the GFS to the Euro models. Its not common to see such a discrepancy in a short term model.
GFS showing 10 inches for the Tetons through Saturday afternoon.
Here is the Euro showing much less for the Tetons (3-6).
The Wasatch and parts of northern Colorado may see some light snow through the period.
Happy New Year everyone! I will update this forecast as the chase changes. Hopefully your out chasing powder like I am.
Next week looks to bring high pressure back into both coasts with sunshine likely in many areas. Be very careful this weekend if you are venturing into the backcountry! Areas that saw significant snow in the past 24 hours have lots of moisture (Dense) with the exception of the far northern Reaches near the Canadian border. Always check the Avalanche forecast before venturing out!
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