Canadian Rockies Daily Snow

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By Bob Ambrose, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 23, 2024

Storm Door Opens This Weekend

Summary

Anticipation is growing as the storm door looks to fully open starting Saturday and will likely stay open through next Thursday. The first wave of light snowfall begins Saturday extending into Sat night, with a second juicier wave arriving on Sunday extending through Monday. This second wave will clash with a strong cold front that will help deliver deep accumulations across most Alberta resorts.

Short Term Forecast

Friday, February 23 - Saturday, February 24

But first, the weak ridge hangs on for one more day delivering dry skies on Friday with a mix of sunny spells with increasing afternoon cloud cover, especially for the resorts along the Divide (BSV, Louise, Marmot, Castle). Gusty W/SW winds develop, with gusts up to 50 kph on the ridgetops. Continued mild temps. 

Unsettled skies on Saturday as a weak disturbance moves into the Alberta Rockies. Numerous flurries will develop along the Divide from Marmot Basin, south to Lake Louise and Banff/Sunshine where 3 – 5 cm are possible through the day. 

Norquay and Nakiska will possibly see trace amounts to a few cm. Castle Mountain will likely see snowfall starting after the lifts close on Saturday. Continued moderate to strong W/SW winds, gusting to 50 kph on the ridgetops, likely higher at Castle. Slightly cooler on Saturday, with alpine (2000m) high temps ranging from -3C to -5C. 

Sunday, February 25 – Monday, February 26

During the day on Sunday an active SW flow develops that is currently modeled to transport a stream of Pacific moisture (remnants of an Atmospheric River) into Central/Southern BC and up and over the Divide in Alberta. 

Sunday will see periods of light snowfall/flurries develop during the day that look to bring accumulations of 5 – 10cm at mainly Sunshine and Louise, with trace amounts to 5 cm possible at Marmot, Norquay, Nakiska, and Castle through last chair Sunday afternoon. Gusty SW winds but not as strong as seen on Saturday. Alpine highs (2000m) of -1C south at Castle, with -5C at Sunshine and Louise.   

The bulk of the storm arrives during the late afternoon/evening hours as periods of heavier snowfall escalate through the overnight hours on Sunday.  This escalation is the result of the stream of Pacific moisture meeting up with a very strong cold front descending out of the Yukon. 

Snowfall continues through the morning hours on Monday, then tapers off from north to south during the afternoon as the cold air begins to dry things out. The exception, Castle Mountain, which will see snowfall taper off before midnight on Monday. Cold on Monday with alpine high temps -12C to -17C. Winds will also taper off on Monday. 

Storm totals from Sunday evening through midnight on Monday will be deepest along the Divide, especially on west facing slopes. Sunshine is best positioned for 20 – 35 cm, with 15 – 30 cm at Lake Louise and Castle Mountain. Norquay, Nakiska, and Marmot fall in the 15 – 25 cm range.

The timing of the cold front's arrival could concievably change to either earlier or later on future model runs. We'll be within the more accurate 48-hour high-resolution model range on my next storm update Sunday morning.   

The Blend of the major models below for projected snowfall from Saturday through midnight Monday.

Extended Forecast

Extended range projections indicate a slight break in the action on Tuesday. Tuesday will see the coldest temps next week, with morning lows in the -23C to -26C range. Alpine highs -13C to -17C. N/NE winds. 

A series of weather systems will have excellent jet stream support bringing several waves of Pacific moisture into the Rockies via a SW flow aloft starting on Wednesday 2/28. The SW flow will allow temps to quickly rebound to seasonal levels by Wednesday. 

Accumulating snowfall is projected daily from Wednesday 2/28 through the following Sunday 3/3. The models are telling us the storm door will likely stay open through the extended range. But keep those snow dances going! 

The long range European Ensemble of the atmosphere pressure over Western Canada is just one of the majority of models indicating a continuation of a stormy pattern.

Thanks for reading. The next storm update will be on Sunday morning. 

Until then,

Powder Out, 

Bob 

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Bob Ambrose

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Ever since his early days as a ski racer on the icy slopes of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Bob chased his dreams of deep powder west to Tahoe and finally Montana. A self-proclaimed 'weather junkie', his passion for maps, charts, and forecasts always lead him to the best snow in Montana.

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