In the last week, we have seen a few cold storms deliver some much needed snow to the Intermountain West. These storms traversed the Rockies in a NW flow regime, and were the final pieces of a pattern on the verge of changing. We first discussed this pattern change here. Now that pattern change is on the doorstep, and the West will remain active but with a different storm track. Generally speaking, this storm track will favor the Pacific Northwest and feature somewhat warmer temperatures. All hope is not lost though, as weak cold fronts will accompany these waves, providing some improvement in snow quality, and these storms will impact the Intermountain region at least to some degree. Below you can see the old storm track that brought in the last two storms, and the new storm track we will see for the next week or so.



(Images courtesy of Tropical Tidbits)

The last cold storm to hammer the west dropped 18-26\" from Utah to New Mexico. We storm skied on Wednesday with up to 26\" for some terrain openings at Snowbird. The next day went blue and we caught Baldy and Mineral as well. We were right there in that Mineral rope drop mayhem. Check out the edit from both of those lovely pow days here. Right after we left Snowbird we booked it to New Mexico for another 20\" bluebird powder day. While only 7\" fell overnight, most of the rest of that 20\" fell after noon yesterday, so the hike to terrain was bottomless and deep. Here is a pic from yesterday.


Arizona Snowbowl got hit hard with this storm as well, seeing 18\" in 24 hours. Check out the pic from there below:


As mentioned, the next round of storms will target the PNW. British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon will see significant impacts from the event beginning this weekend. This will kick off a very active pattern for the Western US, with a favorable storm track in the new upper level pattern. The action will start tonight, and continue nearly non stop through Thursday for Washington, Oregon, and coastal BC. While it won't be snowing heavily the entire time, there will be some periods of greater intensity that yield decent powder days there. The first of which will be in Oregon on Sunday, where 8-14\" should fall overnight. The Cascades in Southern Washington should see similar totals but the heaviest snow does look to be South of Crystal. Hood, Bachelor, and Timberline should see the most snow, where totals could approach 18\" at the summits. While it starts warm, a cold front will move through overnight improving snow quality for the morning powder. Get after it Oregon. 

The storm will then move inland, and Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado will get in on the action. The totals for these regions look a bit lower, but it should still be a nice refresh of 4-8\" across the area, with the exception of Central Idaho where totals could approach a foot. It will be a Sunday-Monday event for the rest of the West.

Here are the snow totals for this first wave:


(Image courtesy of Weatherbell)

As mentioned, the next storm will be right on its heels, and will take a similar track across the West. See the active pattern continuing below. \"\"

(Image courtesy of Weatherbell)

At the start of the GIF, you can see the first storm moving into the PNW. After that, a strong upper level low pressure system sets up in the NE Pacific off of Alaska. This will send numerous waves of moisture to the NW over the course of the next week. There will be some temperature fluctuations as these waves traverse the Western US, but as mentioned, they will have cold fronts too. The air won't be frigid, but it does seem cold enough for snow quality that is definitely worth the chase. These waves of energy will take a similar track to the first one, bringing snow to the northern half of the intermountain West. The subsequent waves do seem to have a bit more moisture as well, so storm totals will likely be higher.

We will have another update in a few days for the details of the next storm.

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(Images courtesy of Tropical Tidbits)


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