The next 24-48 hours will bring significant snow to the Cascades above 4500 feet (Summits may see 12-18 inches by mid-Sunday). Flip-flopping snow levels will bring snow to the bases at times only to switch to a mixed bag as you dodge these short term events. The Rockies grab a decaying system Friday night and Sunday. The extended forecast is whats got me jumping this morning.
If you must chase powder this weekend you won't be skunked, however, snow levels will be the wildcard if you're picky. If you're not picky, the deepest snow will fall in the Cascades through Sunday afternoon. Currently cooler temps will exist later Friday night into Saturday morning (decent quality frosting by the tail end of the storm). 4-8 inches are likely from AM Friday to AM Saturday (warm initially with snow levels dropping on the tail end). There will be significantly less snow at lower elevations. SW winds may favor Mt. Baker ski area. The models also show moderate snow for the southern Cascades (Crystal) with less in the central zones.
Heavy moisture slams the Cascades late Saturday to mid-Sunday. Temps are cool enough to bring mostly snow to the upper bases (Close call on rain or snow- perhaps snowing above 3800 feet with convection and intensity of snowfall snow levels will drive lower than the models are indicating). Significant snow will be piling up above mid elevations, especially at Crystal where the summit is around 7K. Baker will also be in good scoring position with rain/snow mix at lower elevations. Chase high and be rewarded with 10-17 inches of snowfall (very dense at mid elevations and more manageable at the upper elevations- could actually ski pretty well).
The Rockies are in the realm of a weak cold front due for Friday night and Saturday. Light snow is likely to be falling from the Tetons (3-5) Wasatch and most of north-central Colorado (3-5). It's possible that some areas favored by NW flow pick up moderate amounts (3-8 for the upper reaches of Little Cottonwood). The storm comes in very warm and finishes on the cool side (Very warm temps Friday may create a pretty interesting bottom layer for Saturday). Wildcard: If enough wet snowfall initially finishes cold enough it could create dreamy creamy -frosting coated powder.
The extended forecast is where it's at so don't give up reading.
Last week, I mentioned a storm in the April 9-11 timeframe. Models are consistent in bringing in a significant trough in the Tuesday to late Wednesday for much of the Rockies. Warmish temps Tuesday with high elevation snow (Could be heavy) is likely for most of central and southern Idaho (High elevations) spilling east into the Tetons. Southern Montana will also score in this setup. While Tuesday remains relatively warm, cooling will enhance snowfall PM Tuesday to AM Wednesday.
Most of the Wasatch, Tetons, and Colorado are likely to score heavy snowfall at some point from Tuesday night to Wednesday night.
The models are in disagreement (Euro and GFS). The GFS has much higher totals further north into the Tetons with less in the Wasatch. The Euro has more piling up in Utah. Regardless, my confidence is increasing for deep powder in much of the Rockies by the middle of next week. Temps will be cooling so quality will increase.
Below: The optimistic model for the Tetons for total snowfall between today and mid next week. In the short term, snow will be light and only at upper elevations. The Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe will see an uptick in precipitation especially above 7500 feet.
Below: GFS showing a foot or more of powder for much of Colorado including the San Juans for Wednesday. We are still 5 days out so confidence will increase further as we get closer. This is what I call the dream map. The Front Range foothills north of Denver also appear to get heavy snowfall.
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