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POWDER ALERT- NORTHERN ROCKIES- CASCADES WILDCARD

Below: Pajarito Ski area in New Mexico has nabbed 2 feet of powder! Opening day is TODAY! 

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SUMMARY

A fast-moving cold front will bring heavy snow to the Northwest late Saturday that drags over most of north/central Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming by early Sunday morning. 6-12 inches is likely in many of these areas by early Sunday in WA/ID and similar amounts in Wyoming later in the day. The upper elevations of the Cottonwoods are a wildcard. Leftovers hit Colorado Sunday late AM through Monday

FORECAST

Wet snow is falling early Saturday at all elevations of the Cascades in Washington with snow levels around 4500 feet.  7 inches has fallen at Baker, Alpental, and Stevens, with lower amounts further south.  Snow levels rise mid-morning (Rain at the base) before slightly dropping late in the day. Wet heavy snow continues at the summits while mixed precipitation will be falling at lower elevations (Not an ideal day to be on the slopes however upper elevations will grab another 5-10 inches of cream). Cream turns to pow by Sunday. 

Snow levels crash rapidly this evening bringing hopes of a solid powder day-Sunday.  The models favor a mild convergence over Stevens Pass and I-90.  Crystal may also be in the game plan.  The Good: Heavy wet snow will smooth bumps today.  Dry density powder tonight. Amounts of decent quality snow tonight could exceed 5-8 inches in many locations. The Bad:  Its tough to predict how much snow will fall once the cold front passes tonight so amounts of good density pow may range from 3-10 inches depending on timing. The moisture shuts down rapidly by Sunday morning but may continue if convergence continues along I-90 or Stevens (luck)

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The Rockies can get decent pow late this weekend.  Favored areas are Tetons, north/central Montana, central Idaho (lower panhandle, perhaps Schweitzer up north) and a small portion of northern Utah.  Snow will be falling at most of these locations late Saturday through Sunday (North to south).  I would chase to the Tetons for midday Sunday and perhaps Big Sky earlier in the day.  Big Sky is a wildcard for 4-9 inches or more during the period.  Higher moisture falls in the Tetons through Sunday afternoon (6-12).  The Wasatch could score in the northernmost corner of the State near Beaver Mountain (4-8) with lower amounts near Park City (3-5).  The Cottonwoods, south of I-80 should grab 4-9 inches primarily during the late AM to early PM Sunday.  Late Sunday or early Monday may offer some good turns.  Other contenders are Brundage for early Sunday and Montana Snowbowl.  Whitefish could also score late Saturday.  Caveat: Winds will very strong especially in Montana Sunday morning with possible lift impacts. 

Decent moisture from northern Montana into central Idaho.  Less moisture in the central or southern regions of Montana however Big Sky may still score some surprises. Wind direction actually favors Bridger Bowl but the models are lacking. 

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Below: Teton's score pow enhancing Sunday mid-AM.  

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Colorado grabs light to moderate snow in most of the northern Mountains Sunday midday through Monday.  Amounts look to be in the 3-6 inch range. There are some notations of NW winds shifting to the North Monday which may crank up amounts in the Front Range (Closer to Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, etc.).  New Mexico may also score some powder by Monday as moisture drops south.  

The extended outlook looks very wet for the Pacific Northwest and BC midweek.  Unfortunately, temps will be warming again during this period. Expect high mountain snow and low elevation rain. There may be significant accumulations at the upper summits of Whistler and the Cascades. Colder air moves into the NW beginning Friday with the chance of a decent deep powder event for next weekend. Interior BC looks slight cooler with less moisture (Respectable this weekend) Warming also occurs in BC midweek. This extended forecast will be updated with more detail on my next post.  

 

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