Spring has sprung with our clocks pushed up, warmer air in the PNW, and snow to follow with some passing cold fronts. Chases might include the PNW, Tetons, or Front Range near Denver. There is no epic option but with any luck, you could score some freshies. Another storm late this weekend will hopefully bring snow back to the Sierra and Southwest.
The past 24 hours brought a sneak-up powder day for the Cottonwoods in Utah (10-11 inches in 48 hours). My chase took the impossible turn Monday morning chasing at 2:30 AM from Boulder to Snowmass and making 2nd chair. Moisture got hung up over the Roaring Fork Valley Sunday evening bringing 8-10 inches to most of the mountains along Highway 82 and 3-7 inches further east on I-70 from Vail to Steamboat. The best run at Snowmass was the opening of Hanging Valley Wall where it felt like at least a foot of high-quality freshies. Chasing at 2:30 AM was not easy and often something I would avoid.
Below:@powderchasersteve- Good quality powder at Snowmass on Monday. My first day wearing a Strafe Jacket (Aspen Based). Bluebird Powder Day with 9-10 inches of freshies all overnight.
Currently, a very moist system is hung up over the Pacific Northwest with warm temps. Mt Baker scored
Below: NWAC Telemetry showing 15 inches at Mt Baker Tuesday morning with temps in the low 30s near the base area. Snow will be dense and deep.
The Pacific Northwest will continue to grab heavy moisture on Tuesday with a cooling trend by PM. This cooling trend will push snow levels down to 3,000 feet overnight into Wednesday. Moisture will wean somewhat, however, westerly flow could form some cold air convergence zones from King County into Pierce County. Stevens, Alpental, and Crystal all stand a good chance of some higher quality freshies for Wednesday likely being a bit better towards King or Snohomish Counties. Bottom Line: This storm is chase worthy Tuesday, especially Baker (Surf snow) and again Wednesday (3-8 inches new for opening higher quality focussing on mountains near I-90 (Crystal wildcard further south).
Elsewhere the Tetons will see snowfall late Tuesday to Wednesday under westerly flow. Some models still show 5-10- inches of snow, with many edging less in the 3-7 inch mark. The highest amounts might land in the northern Teton Range near Moose Junction or near the Wyoming border. It is a warm storm initially late Tuesday (Base temps in the upper 30s) and cools overnight Tuesday to Wednesday. Some moisture is also noted toward Big Sky (Light to moderate snow). Bottom Line: Boom or Bust, with models not overly excited, some showing up to 8-10 inches with most in the 3-7 inch range. A few models skirt most of the moisture north into the northern end of Teton National Park with less at the Ski Area. Good overnight timing. Comes in warm, and finishes colder (Quality might be decent). Snow showers will continue into Wednesday albeit light. Not a game-changer.
Below: The University of Utah Ensembles show good consensus for light to moderate snow for the Tetons late Tuesday to Wednesday.
For Colorado, the attention turns to some light or moderate snow for the northern and central mountains Wednesday to Thursday. The deepest snow currently appears to focus on the southern Front Range (Jefferson County, Arapahoe, Douglas) with some models pushing decent amounts into areas outside of Denver (Eldora, Winter Park, RNP, Berthoud Pass). The American GFS is bullish for these areas, while some others push the deepest totals south of Denver (Perhaps Monarch will score). Bottom Line: Aim for Thursday morning powder closest to the Front Range. It is likely resorts on the eastern side of the Divide see higher amounts. Totals will be in the 5-12 inch range (Large spread due to uncertainty on how far south the greatest instability will be focussed). Areas west of the Divide should score 3-7 inches. Last-minute decisions will be made early Thursday morning. The Foothills just south of Denver may grab the highest totals.
Below: Ensembles from the University of Utah show a wide range of solutions for Berthoud Pass. There is no consensus amidst the various model runs with anywhere from 5 to 20 inches. The shift further south or east will bring lower totals while any movement further west will enhance amounts. Plan on at least moderate powder for many Ski Areas favoring the eastern Divide from late Wednesday to Thursday. Monarch further south is a wildcard as strong moisture will be headed south along the mountain ranges near I-25 extending inland towards Salida.
The extended shows another moderate push of moisture for the Pacific Northwest late this week (Warming followed by cooling). It is likely that low pressure will overspread the Sierra Range late this weekend and take a southerly route into the 4 corners region early next week. There is a weak cold front associated with this trough. This might bring some decent snowfall to Arizona (AZ Snowbowl), and areas of the southern San Juan Range depending on the exact track. Additionally, moisture will stream north into Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado early next week however the highest totals may end in the southern regions.
Below: Low pressure over the west coast this weekend pushing south into the Sierra by late Saturday or Sunday with a cooling trend.
Below: Low pressure skirting south over Arizona and pushing moisture into the 4 corners as well as north into the central or northern Rockies.
Ensembles in the longer range show a trend towards high pressure as we approach mid next week so take advantage of the next 7 days.
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Enjoy the powder everyone!