A major storm is expected to hit South America this weekend, bringing 1+ feet of snow to local resorts. This is still fairly early in the southern hemisphere snow season, so this storm is coming in fairly warm and wet.
A minor and warm first wave of the storm arrives on Thursday morning and move from south to north into Friday evening. This initial storm will bring rain and mixed precipitation to most resorts. The best odds for accumulating snow during this storm will be the tail end on Friday afternoon onward. The precipitation bullseye will be fairly far north by Las Leñas, however warm temperatures will make accumulations below 2,500 meters less significant. There will be some significant totals by Sunday with another storm on tap Sunday night (Weak) and a stronger system next Thursday.
Above: widespread rain and mixed precipitation - even in the mountains - on Thursday evening.
Fortunately, a colder storm arrives on Friday night in the south, starting in the Bariloche region and sweeping north. For many resorts, this storm may still teter on the edge between rain and snow with snow levels as low as 1,200m in the south. Snowfall will peak on Friday night in the south and Saturday morning/afternoon further north at resorts like Caviahue, Portillo, and Valle Nevado. Unfortunately, the more northerly latitude of Portillo and Valle Nevado means that most of the precipitation will fall as rain-snow mix. However, accumulations on the upper and perhaps mid elevations of these resorts is certainly possible.
By the time this storm is all said and done on Saturday night, here are what we see as realistic totals (roughly at mid-mountain). Keep in mind that these warm, dynamic storms are very difficult to forecast and extremely elevation-dependent, meaning just a couple of degrees can mean the difference between drenching rain and a foot or more of snow!
- Cerro Bayo: 4-7”
- Cerro Catedral: 12-18”
- Chapelco: 10-15”
- Pucon: 0-2”
- Corralco: 16-22”
- Caviahue: 4-8”
- Las Leñas: 0-1” (much more at high elevations)
- Valle Nevado: 0-1”
- Portillo: 0-1”
Above: total snow through Sunday evening with some impressive totals at upper elevations especially northern regions of Argentina.
Looking ahead, high pressure is expected to build over the region later in the weekend. A decent storm is expected to impact the region starting Wednesday night and lasting into next weekend. This storm is looking colder and should bring decent accumulations to resorts favoring the northern mountains. Stay tuned for an update next week.
Below: High pressure returns by Saturday night/ Sunday before another weaker system arrives Sunday night.
Below: Some good news on the horizon with snow totals with the next wave of colder and decent snow totals from Wednesday to Sunday (Next week).
Above: American ensemble 10 day precipitation anomaly forecast showing below average moisture conditions heading into the middle of June.
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