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POWDER ALERT- NORTH CASCADES WA, NORTH CASCADES OR, SIERRA, WASATCH, TETONS, SAWTOOTH'S, CENTRAL COLORADO

2019-01-04

Good evening.  I am updating this forecast since many of you are chasing powder this weekend.  I am still not sure where I will be riding but it's a cross between the Cascades, Sierra, or Utah Sunday.  The models are still very bullish for the Sierra pumping in 12-18 inches of snow for most of the central and northern sections (Kirkwood to Sugarbowl) by Sunday morning.  The Southern mountains may see less (Mammoth).  Very strong winds will create whiteout conditions Saturday afternoon at most resorts when snow begins around Noon-2PM.   Gusts may be exceeding 100 MPH at the ridge tops early Saturday and decrease somewhat in the afternoon as snow begins to fall.  It's possible that closed lifts early Saturday open in the afternoon (Wildcard).  The Good:  High confidence in 12-18 inches. Decent snow levels.  The Bad: Winds on Saturday, 7-12 inches overnight pow (Less than the 12-18 due to Saturday snow), Wind impacted snow is possible.  Mix of day and PM snow.  Crowds (Do I dare say this). 

Below: Strong winds Saturday morning over the Sierra!  

Below: Total snowfall for the Sierra through Sunday mid-morning.  Additional significant snow will fall Sunday night/Monday with warming temperatures

The WA Cascades are a solid bet for overnight snow Saturday into Sunday.  SW winds will favor Mt. Baker with perhaps 5-11 inches overnight into Sunday mid-morning.  Crystal will see less snow (3-8) due to shadowing with SW wind direction.  The models are not all that bullish for Stevens or Snoqualmie. light snow will continue Sunday morning.   Oregon will see very decent odds of 6-12 inches in the northern Cascades!  The Good: High quality very low snow levels, overnight snow. Less crowds? The Bad:  Still a bit uncertain who sees the most snow (Could be a last-minute chase) My gut is northern WA Cascades or northern OR Cascades. 

Attention turns to Utah where the plumes are pointing to very heavy snowfall in the Wasatch for Sunday-Monday.  My forecast this morning was 5-9 inches during the day Sunday.  Snow will begin a bit earlier than I expected.  2-4 inches is likely by 9 AM openings in most of the Wasatch (Higher elevations). Another 4-7 will likely fall during the day.  Totals by end of Sunday will range from 6-11 inches (slight bump up form my morning forecast).  Areas favored by SW flow may see the highest amounts.  That includes Solitude, Brighton, and perhaps Snowbasin.  Winds shift westerly late Sunday so Little Cottonwood may attempt to catch up (LCC also does okay with SW winds but it's my experience that BCC can win the game. West winds will play equal with both or slightly favor LCC).   Beaver mountain also may score some decent powder in far northern Utah (Wildcard).

Below: Total snowfall in Utah through Sunday mid-morning. 

Additional snowfall is likely on Monday morning where another 5-10 inches is likely favoring the central and northern Wasatch mountains of Utah plus the Tetons during the day.   The central Wasatch near the Cottonwoods may see less than areas up north?  Other winners from the late Sunday or Monday storm are the Sawtooths in Idaho where even Sun Valley may score 4-9 inches (S or SW flow).  I would put the Tetons in the 4-9 inch range for Monday and perhaps 3-6 falls on Sunday (Totals in the 7-15 inch range over 2 days).  Higher amounts may fall in the Wind River range to the east of the Tetons. 

Colorado grabs snow beginning very early on Sunday (5 AM in the southern mountains).  Winds start out SW which should land 4-8 inches over most of the San Juan mountains by 2 PM (Purg, Wolf, Telluride, Silverton).  Telluride is not usually favored in SW flow but models are showing decent amounts regardless (Wildcard).  Winds shift westerly late AM to early Sunday PM cranking out snowfall for the central and northern mountains.  Areas further west will see the highest amounts.  Crested Butte may grab 7-10 inches Sunday late AM to late PM.  Aspen will see slightly less and Steamboat and Beaver Creek are on watch.  I am a bit more bullish for Steamboat but the Beav sometimes pulls surprises with west winds.  Other winners may be Monarch.

The next system moves into Colorado on Monday that favors the northern edge of Colorado.  Steamboat may grab several more inches of snow through late Monday or early Tuesday. Chase south or central on Sunday and further north for Monday-Tuesday.  

BC will see another round of snow on Sunday with colder temps.  Saturday is a rest day with light snow showers possible. There will be 0 lift lines at Whistler (Its late for me so I am dreaming).  Late Saturday to Sunday may offer another 5-10 inches for much of BC (Better quality).  Temps warm significantly in BC by Wednesday next week (Rain or snow) by cool dramatically late week.

That's the evening update!  I still don't know where I am chasing this weekend!  


Powderchaser Steve  

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We combine 35 years of experience forecasting and chasing powder to provide forecasts that help you find the deepest snow.