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Active pattern, especially in the 7-10 day period. The Sierra will see snow Sunday-Monday that races over the Rockies early next week.10/17/2021
Summary: An active pattern will set up over the west beginning with some decent teases over coastal BC Sunday for the highest peaks around Whistler. The Sierra will be in the headlines for snowfall from Sunday night into Monday with a strong cold front and moderate snow at upper elevations and even some light snow to the mountain passes over 5500 feet. Some light teases return to the Sierra mid or late this week with a hint of a stronger system due the following week.This could be a significant snow event for much of the west. For the Rockies leftovers migrate over Utah, Central Wyoming and parts of northern Colorado for the short term (Monday-Tuesday). If you look at the 10 day snowfall maps there is some indication of some decent numbers to impact the west including the Sierra however being that far out our confidence is still low.
This weekend saw the first Colorado Ski Area open on Saturday with Wolf Creek reporting 16 inches of snow in the past 7 days. It's a bit ironic to see them posting "Most snow in Colorado" as its only October 17th (There are only 2 ski areas open in the West).
Below: Wolf Creek Ski area opened on October 16th (Weekends only).
On the heals of Wolf Creek - Arapahoe Basin opens today (Sunday) and as of 6:50 AM there was already a line up for 1st chair per the webcams. Who are those folks at the front of the line?
The strong cold front for California will bring 4-8 inches to upper elevations of the Sierra with perhaps a few inches to the bases by Monday morning.
Below you can see this cold air impacting the PNW, Sierra Sunday-Monday with it reaching the Rockies by Monday/Tuesday.
Snow will develop albeit light/moderate over the Wasatch and parts of northern Colorado and central Wyoming early next week. Amounts are not significant however NW flow (Wind direction), cool air might squeeze out some surprise totals over northern Utah. Currently the models show ranges between 4-7 inches but that could end up higher (Northern Utah, Central Wyoming and N. Colorado).
Below: Total snowfall through Tuesday showing highlights over the summits of Whistler and the Sierra Sunday-Monday with light or moderate amounts due for the central Rockies by Monday night or Tuesday.
In the Extended forecast things look a bit more exciting as some weak waves are possible for the PNW, and Sierra mid or late this week with a possibly deeper storm possible in the 7-10 period. We don't like sharing data that far out, but currently an impressive cold front is possible with a widespread snow event for many areas. Whistler is also likely to reap deep rewards. This long range forecast deserves careful watching.
Below: Temps might drop significantly in the 7-10 day period (Map is stamped on Tuesday- October 26th) with snowfall possible.
Below: Total snowfall over a 10 day period for the west (Including the near term storms) looks impressive but model data is not very reliable that far out. Decent 10 day totals for a widespread area of the west (Low confidence but certainly worth watching).
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Forecaster: Powderchaser Steve