I spent extra time this morning trying to digest the differences in several models that still pose some uncertainty for the northern Rockies. Lets first discuss the Sierra which with high confidence will nab light snow today and heavy snow on Wednesday which continues into Thursday albeit lighter.
The Sierra highlights are going to be for Wednesday into Thursday. 2 inch per hour snowfall rates will be common above 7,000 feet Wednesday with very strong winds, especially in the morning. Some snowfall rates could approach 3/per hour at upper peaks (Winds, orographics and cooling temps). Some snow will have fallen from Tuesday night (3-5) but the real action happens on Wednesday. Winds will veer from very strong to \strong\" by afternoon. There is a chance that lift operations that are shut down Wednesday morning open in the afternoon, but it's a big gamble! Gusts may approach 90 MPH Wednesday morning at 9,000 feet only to downgrade to the 60's late. Expect 9-13 inches during the day above 7,000 feet. Perhaps 3-7 at lower elevations. The temps will fall during the day. The snow level approaches lake level late with an additional 2-5 inches for Thursday morning (All elevations) and decreasing winds. Mammoth may report higher snow totals purely from a higher elevation standpoint, but all mountains of Tahoe will do well with this storm. Resorts along the Sierra Crest (Higher elevation like Kirkwood, Squaw, Sugar Bowl) are favored for the highest totals but may suffer the biggest consequences for lift operations on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, light to perhaps moderate snow is a sure bet midweek for the Cascades (Cooling trend) with higher amounts found in the northern Rockies. My complex model analysis this morning centered from the southern Montana mountains to the Tetons. Models still diverge on the exact track of the moisture but I think I have a good handle on the timing. Moderate confidence for Big Sky and perhaps Bridger for Thursday storm skiing (5-7). I am not sure I like the Easterly component to the winds Thursday at mid-elevations (Upper elevations may stay SW). Winds will be light (Good for lift operations but decreasing the amount of forcing and snowfall intensity). Moderate confidence for additional snow with colder temps and a more favorable northerly wind direction for Thursday night into Friday. Some additional light or moderate snow is likely for your first turns Friday. Late Thursday or early Friday may be your best bets (6-12).
The Tetons are looking 7-11 ish on some models through Friday and 4-7 ish on others. The most likely scenario is light snow Thursday (2-4) turns a bit heavier into Friday (3-7). End result: Decent day on Friday with storm totals from 4-10 inches. If the pessimistic model wins, your amounts will be less. What is certain? Significant snow will be falling on the Montana/Wyoming border (Yellowstone) with 12-20 expected in these areas. Decent snow may sneak out a surprise for Red Lodge Mountain Ski area to the east (Likes NE winds) but it's a wildcard. If the heavier snow drops south than the Tetons might score?
Below: Euro showing bulk of the precipitation east and west of Bozeman (Crazy Mountains) with less to the south (Big Sky sits just south of the heaviest snow).
Below: GFS pushes more moisture south towards Red Mountain Lodge (East near the Wyoming border and into the Tetons).
The Wasatch gets teased from Wednesday night to Friday (Increasing light to occasionally moderate snow late week). Nothing is looking great. Refresh? Maybe.
Colorado has jumped around model wise. Yesterday it showed 15 inches for Telluride. A few days ago we had the giant upslope Front Range event. Today, my confidence is for light to moderate snow peaking on Friday. Some additional snow is likely for Saturday morning albeit light. Since the models have yet to figure out Colorado, there is still a chance that some resorts sneak out a decent refresh especially by late Friday. Colder temps will freeze the mank from midweek and create an interesting non-euphoric effect below. If you're going to plunge onto a bump run Friday or Saturday (Deep freeze) I hope your knees are rock solid. As a snowboarder, I would head to anything without bumps, perhaps the side or backcountry (Avalanche conditions are rising this week due to solar warming).
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