Quite a storm on Thursday & Thursday night with new snow totals on Friday AM ranging from 11-21 inches in the Tetons & 4-10 inches in the valley. JHMR was the big winner with up to 21 inches on the upper mountain! Lingering snow showers Friday AM will give way to a break on Friday PM & Saturday. The next storm will arrive on Sunday with a nice refresher. More snow showers possible Mon-Tue as well.
Short Term Forecast
Friday AM Snow Totals:
What a storm! Here are the latest 24-hour snow reports from early Friday morning:
- 21" - JHMR Rendezvous Bowl
- 17" - JHMR Raymer Plot
- 17" - JHMR Mid-Mountain
- 12" - Grand Targhee (Chief Joe Bowl)
- 11" - Surprise Lake (GTNP)
- 10" - JHMR Base Area
- 6" - Town of Jackson (measured at my home)
- 5" - Togwotee Pass
The southwest winds favored Jackson Hole more than Targhee in this storm, but both sides of the Tetons did very well. Snow density ranged from 8-9% with snow liquid ratios of around 11.5 to 1.
Conditions are looking good at JHMR where more lifts and terrain are scheduled to open on Saturday.
Forecast for Friday - Saturday:
We are on the backside of the storm on Friday morning with enough lingering moisture to produce additional snow showers and flurries through about midday. We could pick up another 1-2 inches above 8,000 feet (beyond Friday AM's report) before clearing out a bit during the afternoon.
Winds will remain brisk out of the west throughout the day on Friday with gusts to 30-40 mph up high. Also, temperatures are much colder behind a cold front that arrived early Friday AM. Highs will only be in the low to mid single digits at 9,000 feet, while the valley will see highs of around 20.
On Saturday, we will see a break in the pattern with clear skies early giving way to partly cloudy skies (mid to high clouds) late in the day. An inversion will set up as well with highs reaching the low 20s at 9,000 feet. Highs will only reach the teens in the valley after starting out below zero in the morning.
Forecast for Sunday:
The next storm will arrive on Sunday with snow likely beginning during the morning hours and continuing into the evening. Winds will be out of the south/southwest for much of this event, and this will also help to transport some milder air into the region.
This will be an interesting setup as the warmer air arriving in the mid-levels of the atmosphere will initially be overrunning colder air in the lower levels/valleys. This should enhance snowfall rates over the valley on Sunday morning, and south/southwest winds are also a favorable direction for the valley and Snow King (negates the rain shadow effect of the Tetons).
Therefore, we may see less of a difference in snow amounts in the mountains versus the valley than we typically do.
Models have been fluctuating back and forth a bit between how much moisture reaches the area, so for now, I'll go with a forecast of 3-6 inches in the Tetons and 2-4 inches for the JH Valley. Also, the south/southwest flow will likely favor JHMR a bit more than Targhee.
The milder air arriving will also result in a higher-density snowfall than we've seen recently, with snow-liquid ratios likely to end up around 10 to 1 (or 10% density).
Most of this snow should fall between about sunrise on Sunday morning and midnight on Sunday night.
Outlook for Monday (Dec 5) to Friday (Dec 9):
Another storm will pass north of the area on Monday and Tuesday, but models are in generally good agreement that moisture on the southern edge of this storm will reach the Tetons via west/southwest winds. This should result in additional terrain-enhanced snow showers that will be most favorable for Targhee and the western side of the Tetons.
Temperatures will also cool a bit on Monday and Tuesday, resulting in lighter-density snowfall. I have low confidence in snow amounts right now, but I think it's reasonable to expect "a few inches" at Targhee and the upper slopes of JHMR at least on Monday, and probably Tuesday as well.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we should start to dry out more though I wouldn't rule out some additional light snow showers or flurries just yet.
The next storm is then projected to arrive on Friday. Early indications are that it may be a weaker storm, but it could still provide yet another refresher to keep snow conditions nice and soft on the slopes.
Outlook for December 10th and Beyond:
I have little confidence in the pattern heading into mid-December as models have been all over the place. The European Model is projecting high pressure to build in over the weekend of December 10th-11th which would result in a drying trend. However, the American GFS and Canadian Models are projecting an active pattern to continue through the 10th-11th weekend and beyond.
Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Saturday (Dec 3).