Hello skiers and riders! I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited about skiing! But where's the snow? I went to an early-season meeting with water, snowpack and weather experts last week to learn more detail about what a mild El Nino winter may mean for Idaho. The bad news is that if the experts are right, a mild El Nino winter will bring warmer-than-normal temperatures and drier-than-normal precipitation at least in the first half of the winter. The jet stream is expected to set up to move across the southern tier of the United States, and more High Pressure weather patterns are expected to set up off the Pacific Coast. But as I dug into short- and long-term forecasts with the National Weather Service, we are supposed to see wetter-than-normal conditions in the short-term, starting on Thanksgiving and continuing through the holiday weekend, and looking out 30-90 days, we have "Equal Chances" of precipitation. That's good news!
Short Term Forecast
So this is the overall mild El Nino weather map. Storms are supposed to track more to the southern United States.
The 8-14 day forecast looks promising for a series of storms to hit Idaho by Thanksgiving next week, and continuing through the holiday weekend. The storms are supposed to get stronger through the weekend period, but there is some uncertainty where the storm tracks will occur.
The long-term forecasts look even more promising for "Equal Chances" of precipitation through the winter months.
So, the question will be how much warmer-than-normal will temperatures be when the storms come through? We will have to watch for that when the storms actually occur ... I am always an eternal optimist ... I am hoping for the best.
We've all lived through many El Nino winters in the past. Look at this chart of previous El Nino winters going back to 1950 ... I certainly remember the winter of 1976-77, it was a total bust! One of the worst ever! But the next year, things turned around!
Where is the snow now? Take a look at this map ...
We've got a start on a snow base in many mountain locations ... just need more!
In the meantime, do your snow dance, grow a beard or pray to the snow god, Ullr ... bring it!
Brundage Mountain is making snow on Easy Street, the beginner chairlift, and hopes to open on Friday, Nov. 23, as long as snow-making goes well and temperatures stay cold at night.
Schweitzer Mountain is making snow and expects to make a call on when it may open next week by Monday or Tuesday.
Other Idaho ski areas are either making snow or waiting for more natural snow before announcing opening dates.
Did you know that you can get more from OpenSnow?
If you’re looking for a way to support OpenSnow and get access to more data, consider signing up for the All-Access Pass.
- 10-day forecasts
- Custom alerts to know about upcoming powder days
- Time-lapse webcams for tracking exactly when fresh snow has fallen
- Email delivery of the Idaho Daily Snow as soon as it’s published
All of this costs just $19 for one full year (365 days) and helps to support OpenSnow so that we can spend money and time to further improve our website and mobile apps.
I’d love to count you as an All-Access member!