Heavy snow is moving into the Sierra \Right now\"! Snow will continue heavily through the evening and continue moderate overnight. That storm will move into Southern Utah late tonight before crossing into central and northern regions by 4 AM. Snow is also going to be falling heavily in the North Cascades and Whistler region tonight through Sunday. The southern WA Cascades will see lower amounts, but the Oregon Cascades do better. Downstream, the southern Panhandle of Idaho (Wyoming border), Tetons, and the Wasatch are solid contenders for Sunday Pow. Colorado scores leftovers first in the San Juans before moving north on Monday.
Below: Donner Summit on I-80
The models are coming into synch with high confidence close to my original forecast. If you're still in Whistler ( I believe upper mountain opened today) another round of heavy moisture with colder temps are going to fall through Sunday (5-10). The Cascades to the south, especially Mount Baker may reap similar amounts through Sunday. Much less will be falling along I-90 or Stevens with moderate snow to the south near Crystal into Sunday (3-8). White Pass and the mountains south into Oregon will see higher amounts. Bachelor may nab 6-10 inches by late Sunday.
The Sierra is a solid chase for Sunday! Many lifts are on wind hold currently (I mentioned that in my post yesterday) and heavy snow is falling over the north lake and I-80 at post time. Upper lifts being closed help in the chase factor as it equals higher snow totals for Sunday morning. Winds are gusting over 70 MPH at the summits. Wind charts show a slow diminishing trend through the night (30-40's) and early Sunday. Winds will increase midday Sunday as the next storm system rapidly approaches. The gamble is trying to get terrain open in time before the winds increase late AM or early PM Sunday. Total accumulations from tonight's storm will range from 11-17 inches above 7,000 feet. Some models have downtrended amounts slightly but it's a solid storm of decent quality and lake level snow (5-9 at lake level).
IN THE EXTENDED FORECAST THE SIERRA WILL SEE STORM TOTALS FROM BOTH EVENTS IN THE 3-5 FEET RANGE.
If your chasing downstream, I still like the Wasatch for 9-14 inches primarily from 5 AM to 5 PM (Storm ski) Sunday. You may see 3-5 inches on the morning report and an additional 6-9 during the day. The northern Wasatch may score the highest amounts but the Cottonwoods will be really close (BCC will see higher amounts than LCC). Slight favortism to Brighton and Solitude followed by Snowbasin and Beaver. Southern Idaho may also score some freshies near Pocatello. The Tetons will see slightly lower amounts with 4-9 inches through 5 PM Sunday.
Below: Plumes from the University of Utah for Jackson Hole Ski resort at 9K feet (Combined 2 storms Sunday and Monday). Tighter lines =higher confidence. Dark red or blue is the average model runs.
Arizona is in the hunt! Look for 6-12 inches at the Arizona Snowbowl by noon Sunday. Southern Utah near Eagle Point will also do well with this pattern. Colorado will start to see light snow late Saturday night that increases on Sunday morning. The models play favor to the San Juans with 7-11 inches north of Durango (Purgatory, Silverton) and slightly less near Telluride. Similar amounts are likely near Wolf Creek (Caveat: One model shows 3-7 where others are 7-11). The winds are from the SW that favor all of these resorts. Further north in Colorado resorts on the western slope will be favored. Colder air and a trend for westerly winds happen at some point late AM Sunday. This will shift snowfall north impacting Aspen, Crested Butte, Steamboat and the western side of Eagle County (Beaver Creek wildcard) Amounts for these areas may be in the 4-8 inch range. Higher amounts are possible at Crested Butte where westerly winds can offer surprises for late Sunday. Resorts further east in Colorado towards eastern Eagle or Summit will see lower amounts (1-4).
Below: Plumes for Red Mountain Pass (Dark blue and red line is the mean with other lines showing good consensus being closer together. These are all configured from multiple runs of the models. The darker lines are the averages. Tighter lines=Confidence. 8 inches by 5 PM Sunday and 10-15 through Monday.
Below: Plumes for Brighton Ski area in Utah (There are 2 storms with one ending at 00Z- 4 PM Sunday). You can see storm #2 ramp up on January 7th (Monday).
Below: Plumes for Tower Snowtel near Steamboat. 1st storm ends late Sunday (OOZ)
Warming temps bring snow levels to around 7,000 feet in the Sierra by late Sunday night or early Monday. Additional heavy snow will be falling over the Sierra into Monday. An additional 2 feet PLUS is likely through the period. That system will take a northerly route over Idaho, Tetons, and northern Utah Monday. Northern Colorado will also be on the cusp for some decent snow likely near Steamboat (Wildcard). Expect 3-8 inches at Sun Valley, 5-10 inches in the Tetons and slightly higher amounts in the Wasatch. Monday will make for a great storm ski day in the Rockies. Tuesday may still offer some fresh for northern Colorado?
STORM TOTALS FOR SOME SPOTS IN THE NORTHERN ROCKIES WILL EXCEED 25 INCHES BY MONDAY NIGHT ( 2 STORMS).
Warming occurs in British Columbia mid next week. The majority of moisture midweek will be over the Northwest and BC. Warm temps midweek in the Cascades will bring low elevation rain and high mountain snow to many areas. Slightly cooler temps in coastal BC will bring decent snow totals to Whistler from Midmountain to the summits (Snow levels may lower further). Interior BC sees light to moderate snowfall. Temps cool after Wednesday with a cooling trend for much of the PNW as moisture weans.
Enjoy the POW everyone. I will not know where I am going until 5 AM. See you on the slopes!
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