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Powder Alert- Sierra, Cascades, Idaho, Rockies, Western BC

2024 is ringing in some great news for many ski areas for the next several days. Significant snowfall is likely for many mountains in the west including California who has been skunked all season. The PNW will also score deep totals in the next 3-4 days followed by northern Idaho and many spots in the Rockies. The extended looks equally as good! 

The first wave is moving ashore currently for the Sierra Range and will land 8-12 inches for many ski areas along the Sierra Crest. The western side of the lake will be favored with nearly an inch of moisture. Areas further east including the Mt Rose Highway or Diamond Peak might see lower totals. It's possible that some spots on the Sierra Crest from Sugar Bowl, Homewood, and further south to Kirkwood see an excess of 12 inches by Wednesday morning (All overnight powder). Mammoth will be in the mix as well with perhaps slightly lower totals. S- SW winds might keep the deep totals a bit more isolated (Wildcard Downside as the last storm). We are much more optimistic with this one. 

Below: Short term high resolution models showing nearly an inch of water for the Sierra Crest. That could land double digits for many ski areas in the Sierra by Wednesday mid morning as precipitation tapers off. There will also be snow at lake level with this storm.

That phase of energy in the Sierra will also kick off snow showers for the PNW to with the weaker energy splitting into the Cascade ranges. 

The southern branch of energy entering the Sierra will move south and east bringing some moderate snow to the 4 corners with 5-10 inches of snow for late Wednesday to Thursday (Southern Utah, Colorado, Arizona wildcard, Northern New Mexico). 

Below: Short term high resolution models showing storm #1 spreading heavy snow from the Sierra into the 4 corners by Wednesday night. You can see a few areas of highlights in southern Utah and perhaps Colorado for some powder for Thursday morning. There is also deep moisture in Nevada noted for the Ruby Mountain Ranges. Scattered snow showers extend into the Cascades. 

Bigger storm and colder air

The next wave of snowfall parades into the PNW Friday/Saturday and marches through the Sierra with similar totals to the storm underway Tuesday night (10 plus).

That system will bring double digits to western BC, PNW (Washington Favored), and northern Idaho, especially near Selkirk Powder and the Schweitzer Ski area peaking late Saturday to Sunday. Convergence zones near I-90 might enhance snowfall over Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie. Northern Montana near Whitefish also appear to finally be in the path of some appreciable snow totals where 12-15 inches are possible. 

Below: Total snowfall through Saturday morning will be significant for the Cascade Ranges. Snowfall increases over northern Idaho and Montana late Saturday to Sunday and spreads into the Tetons and Wasatch. 

The action moves east favoring the Tetons, Wasatch and eventually Colorado for Sunday-Monday. 

Storm totals in the Tetons are a bit early to speculate but likely in the 5-10 inch range. Southern Montana will not miss out, with lower totals.

The Wasatch looks to gain 3-6 inches Friday/Saturday with a stronger push of 12 plus for Sunday/Monday. NW flow behind. the front might enhance snowfall totals in the Wasatch. These totals will be updated in a future post. 

It's a bit early to speculate on Colorado with significant model discrepancies. Some show a very deep storm set up Saturday-Monday for the San Juan Range and even the Front Range near Denver. Others show a widespread event for the northern and central mountains (5-10) with a bit higher amounts to the south. Most Ski areas in Colorado will see snowfall this weekend. Don't forget, the bonus storm this Thursday will bring some moderate snow to the 4 corners including Wolf Creek and northern New Mexico.  

Below: Total snowfall through Monday January 8th for the west. This combines both storms midweek and later this weekend. WOO HOO. 

The extended forecast looks great, with another deep moisture plume aimed at the PNW that should overspread the Rockies and perhaps the Sierra early to mid next week. Map below is midweek January 10th showing a deep trough over the PNW. 

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Check out our new shirts on the website with front and back logos! They just came off the press!   https://powderchasers.com/collections/frontpage

Also want to remind everyone that promo code POWDERCHASERS on a Zoleo satellite GPS communicator device waives the $20 activation fee. Nice to have cell coverage when traveling in the backcountry hunting for pow!

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Powderchaser Steve 


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