Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope you spend time with your family and maybe even get out for a few preseason rounds.
Our friends at Powderchasers are forecasting a pretty solid storm cycle to sweep across the American west for the next 4-7 days. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by making smooth, powdery turns on snow?!
Take a look at Powderchasers full prediction below and I hope you have a wonderful holiday.
POWDER ALERT! 1-2 FEET – ENJOY YOUR TURKEY NOW AND RIDE POWDER IN THE 4-7 DAY FORECAST.
Weak systems will graze the Rockies for Turkey week while a stronger system moves to the PNW and Canada for the weekend. This will likely bring significant snow to the Cascades, BC, and eventually areas of the northern and central Rocky Mountains. The Sierra is a wild card with models trending downwards.
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The departing storm over the Pacific Northwest brought up to 9 inches at Stevens Pass (last forecast was for 4-8). No measurable snow (warmer than expected) fell in the lower elevations of Mount Baker with mostly rain/snow mix. It’s possible that the upper aspects of Baker scored deep, wet snow (we’ll see). Less snow fell farther south. Stevens benefited from SE winds and colder inland air that pushed against the mountain ranges and kept temperatures in the mid-20s. Further north, temperatures were in the low to mid 30’s towards Mt. Baker.
The next 7 days bring snow to the Cascades, Canada (Whistler open) and some areas of the Rocky Mountains. Bases are still low in the Washington Cascades, with higher amounts in Oregon. Base your decisions on these factors as it could be worth waiting for more storms next week as base depths increase. You could get lucky with this pattern in the PNW and catch opens as snow continues to pile up this weekend and mid to late next week, a high confidence bet in cold temperatures. Both WA and Oregon should benefit from these upcoming storms. BC will also do very well this weekend and next week (western areas will be lower but inland areas will still be in double digits). There are several energy waves all starting this weekend (2-3 systems to watch).
The pattern increases with colder temperatures over the PNW and Canada this weekend, eventually moving southeast over the Rockies and perhaps the Sierra early to mid next week. Models showed significant snow for the Sierra just yesterday (Tuesday) and suddenly shifted the action farther north. The closer we get, the more model data we need. For a deep storm in California, confidence is a little low. There is little consensus on who is grabbing the deepest snow outside of PNW and BC (high confidence). Looking at multiple model runs and ensembles currently, there’s decent confidence for a decent double-digit dump for most of the northern Rockies with Utah on the cusp. (12-15 or 6-9 depending on model run). I have more faith in the Teton Ranges and areas north of Montana and Idaho. Most of this powder snow in the Rocky Mountains falls in the Tuesday through Thursday time frame with a slow-moving front. Colorado will perform best on Wednesday or Thursday, with northern areas being favored. Chases focus on snow piles up in the PNW (particularly through midweek) and carefully monitor the northern Rockies for last-minute movements. Much will depend on current base depth and open terrain. Don’t jump too early, especially in the PNW where base depths are still shallow.
Under: The European model shows that the low digs farther south than the American GFS and therefore brings some snow back into the Sierra. The JRC has much smaller amounts. bottom line: Currently, this storm appears to be favoring the mountain ranges north of the Sierra, but it’s too early to predict as models are tipping over.
Under: The American GFS shows the low setting further north, resulting in less snow for the Sierra.
Under: Total snowfall until next Thursday December 1st is abundant and prefers BC, PNW, north/central Idaho, Montana, Tetons, Wasatch (wildcard), and most of Colorado (wildcard further south). Most of that snow will fall this weekend and mid to late next week for the PNW and midweek for the Rockies. The Sierra is a wild card where the models are flip flops but trending down. Models that are so far out will change! The Rockies are also getting some more snow late next week.
Under: U of Utah ensembles show low consensus on total snowfall for Kirkwood with a medium range in the light or moderate range. The European ensemble (not shown) has higher volumes that limit the low further south toward the Sierra. Our confidence in a deep dump in the Sierra is fading a bit, but fingers crossed.
Under: Park City ensembles are in pretty good shape next week, peaking on Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s probably a foot or more fall in the Wasatch Range. These tend to be overblown that far outside of the forecast range and will narrow overall in a future post.
Under: The Teton Range has a decent consensus for a deep storm Tuesday through Wednesday. That storm is almost a week away so confidence is lower until we get closer. Those runs can be overdone with the GFS so far out there (the range is in the double digits). On a potential downtrend I would expect 10-15 inches or more for the Tetons for JHMR and Targhee. It can also be benefited further north to Montana. Our friends from Selkirk Powder below might be fine next week too!
Bottom line powder: Cold and stormy time for the west. High confidence for PNW and Canada, moderate confidence for double digits in the Rocky Mountains favoring northern and central regions. Lower faith in the Sierra, but it could still happen!
This will be addressed in the next forecast and technically the above dates are in a longer term timeframe. We could remain active towards the end of next week and into the early days of December.
Under The observed low pressure could bring a return of snow in the December 4-5 time frame late next weekend. Low confidence so far out there.
Bottom: December 6 shows a ridge over the PNW and Rockies with a possible storm for the Sierra (anything can happen).
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Happy Turkey Day! Some white turkeys will be out there especially this weekend and next week. Don’t forget to donate to PC to keep our forecasts going.
Powder Chaser Steve
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