Just when I posted "final post" there were a few comments that said "I bet there's another one coming" and sure enough, they were right! It's hard to resist posting a powder alert when ingredients come together, late-season, for some good dumps. That is exactly what is going to happen.
Powder days in the Sierra, Tetons, Montana, Utah, and Colorado late this weekend will bring snowfall into early next week.
Looking out further towards the 3rd or 4th of May (Week 2) the models are hinting at a significant storm for Colorado that could bring feet of snow to the mountains early that week. That storm is too far out to predict with much confidence-It's been showing up on models so worth keeping a watch out. Keep Reading for the 1-5 day forecast and opportunity to chase pow.
In the short term, there is high confidence for 7-12 inches for the Sierra Range late Saturday night through Sunday evening. Snow and wind will be cranking after midnight Sunday as moisture begins to fall. The GFS which has been overly bullish all season shows up to 18 inches at the Sierra Crest and perhaps 4-8 inches further east. The European model has stayed in the 5-10 inch range. Plan on snowy travel on Sunday (Slush at Lake level) with my best guess for the highest amounts coming in in the southern lake mountains and Mammoth. Winds will ease at some point Sunday. While Mammoth might be deeper by midday Sunday, Squaw could still do well. Plan on 7-12 inches at the upper peaks of Mammoth by Sunday night and 6-9 inches at Squaw. Much less snow will fall at the bases (0-3). Winds and poor visibility might restrict what opens on Sunday (Plan to ride Sunday and Monday). The totals seem to favor the southern Sierra but all ranges grab pow.
Below: Total snowfall late Saturday night to late Sunday for the Sierra. Higher amounts favor areas south of the Lake, however, all regions above 7500 feet should see decent snow totals Sunday. (Mix of overnight and day snow). Look for new openings Monday. Strong winds Saturday/Sunday morning might impact the quality or smooth buff some fun hero. Some of the snowfall will be convective so depending on where bands set up (2 inches per hour) there could be some downside or upside surprises.
Below: SW Winds are strong at upper elevations of the Sierra Range Saturday to early Sunday as noted in the models at 10K. Sustained at 40-50 MPH decreasing at some point Sunday morning. Winds might be a bit less over the southern regions.
For the Rockies, a weak system will bring snow showers to many areas of the Rockies (UT, CO) this weekend before the main event arrives Sunday night to Tuesday morning. The models show double digits are likely for the Tetons (Higher elevations) peaking late Sunday night into Monday morning for the Tetons, and primarily an early morning to late Monday event for the Wasatch. Storm ski the Cottonwoods Monday and grab additional snow under NW flow (Colder) for Tuesday. The timing is not perfect with peak snowfall possibly coming early Monday and again early Tuesday. I think late AM Monday or early AM Tuesday have good potential (Total 2-day totals 8-16 inches). The Tetons might offer good touring possibilities but be sure to check the Backcountry Avalanche report before venturing out. Montana may also report some deep totals.
Below: University of Utah average of over 20 ensemble runs averaging out some decent totals for the Tetons Sunday to Monday. Teton Pass might do pretty well from this storm.
Below: University of Utah ensembles also showing decent amounts for Alta (Closed) during the same period which might drag on a bit slower on Monday and into Tuesday. The best prediction I can make is 6-8 by late Monday AM and another 4-8 into Tuesday. (9-16 storm totals). Initially S-SW winds and warmer temps followed by a cooler Westerly Flow (Better quality late Monday or Tuesday morning).
For Colorado expect moderate snow for late Monday to late Tuesday. Models are showing decent amounts near Aspen, Irwin Lodge, Crested Butte (Wildcard) and further east near the Divide (Front Range, Loveland-AB, WP wildcard). Other mountain zones to watch will be northern Montana near Whitefish (Closed) for Sunday. Further south should land respectable amounts for areas near Bozeman and perhaps Big Sky (Closed) or Red Lodge Mountain (Closed)
Below: Dreaming of powder! Deterministic models are not very accurate 7-10 days out, but a significant storm is showing up for Colorado in the May 3-4 timeframe. That's just a 2-day snowfall total! Dream comes true after high pressure settles in mid to late next week. This storm seems to favor the Front Range. It may also be cold enough for some low elevation May snow in the Metro areas.
Below: Global ensembles also show low pressure likely for Colorado in the May 3,4 timeframe
I once again bring you a final chase forecast. Follow @powderchasersteve on Instagram for the latest adventures.
Enjoy the powder everyone! Living vicariously since I tore 2 tendons in my hamstring and will be out for at least 3-4 months.
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