Conditions largely remained dry this past weekend with minimal snowfall. Monday is starting out dry, cold, and clear. A few weak disturbances from the NW will bring a few rounds of light snow from Mon night thru Thursday. A stronger storm cycle is possible on Friday-Saturday and possibly lingering into Sunday as well. The pattern is also looking active heading into early Feb.
Short Term Forecast
Forecast for Monday - Monday night:
The Tetons were just barely grazed by a storm on Sunday AM with flurries. Most areas did not record any measurable snowfall, except for Targhee who reported one inch.
Monday is starting out cold and dry with clear skies and a temperature inversion. Morning lows dipped to -10ºF in Jackson and -11ºF in Driggs. Up high, morning temperatures are in the low teens above zero at 7,500-9,000 feet, and 7ºF at the top of the tram at 10,450 feet.
Dry and sunny conditions will persist throughout the day with highs in the mid-teens at 9,000 feet, while valley temperatures will struggle to get out of the single digits.
On Monday night, a weak disturbance will move through from the northwest with flurries possible. This event is looking minimal with new snow amounts of a dusting to an inch up high, if anything at all.
Forecast for Tuesday:
Another disturbance will move through from the north/northwest with snow showers developing on Tuesday afternoon and evening. I'm expecting snow totals to range from 1-2 inches in the Tetons with a dusting to maybe a few tenths of an inch in the valley.
The Tetons can see good orographic/terrain-enhanced lift (and better snow potential) with northwest winds, but once winds shift to north or north/northwest, the orographic effect becomes weaker, thus my low expectations for anything more than light snowfall.
Highs on Tuesday will reach the mid teens at 9,000 feet and upper teens in the valley. Winds will pick up a bit on Tuesday afternoon above 9,000 feet out of the north/northwest at 10-20 mph with gusts to 30-35 mph.
Forecast for Wednesday to Thursday:
Additional minor disturbances will move through from the north/northwest during this time, but the overall storm track has trended further east compared to what I was mentioning during my last forecast. As a result, we will likely see more of a north/northwest flow rather than west/northwest flow which is less favorable for snowfall.
As a result, I'm only expecting a dusting to an inch of new snow on each day. If the storm track were to shift a little further west than currently projected, then we could end up doing a little better than this, but my expectations are low for now.
Highs on Wednesday will be around 10ºF at 9,000 feet and in the mid teens in the valley with light winds expected.
Temperatures will warm up slightly on Thursday with highs in the mid teens at 9,000 feet and low 20s in the valley. However, winds will also pick up a bit out of the north/northwest on Thursday afternoon.
Outlook for Friday (Jan 27) to Sunday (Jan 29):
A stronger storm is expected to impact the Tetons during this timeframe as a trough of low pressure carves out across the Northern Rockies and an arctic cold front approaches from the north, before stalling across Yellowstone and the Continental Divide on Saturday.
A persistent westerly flow is expected to set up across the area on Friday and Saturday with several pulses of energy moving through, which could result in a fairly prolonged snow event. Temperatures will also stay cold, resulting in dry and powdery snow quality.
There are still plenty of question marks regarding the timing and storm track, so while I'm optimistic at the moment, this isn't a done deal yet. For instance, the American GFS Model is keeping the storm track further east which would result in lower snowfall. Fortunately, this is an outlier as the other models are projecting a further west and more favorable storm track.
For now, I'm expecting snow to begin as early as Friday morning with periods of snow continuing into Saturday. As the storm gradually works its way southward, we could see additional waves of snow arrive from the southwest into Sunday, though confidence is lower in this latter portion of the storm.
It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out as we get closer, but for now, I would be circling this weekend for good powder potential in the Tetons, with Saturday morning perhaps being the prime time.
Outlook for January 30th to February 6th:
We may see a brief lull in the pattern after the January 27th-29th storm, then I'm seeing hints of the next possible storm around January 31st.
After that, we should stay in an active pattern through early February as a trough of low pressure will be the dominant feature across the Western U.S. The dominant storm track is uncertain this far out, but at the very least, the storm door will be open and I expect more snow during this period.
Temperatures are also expected to stay below average, which means snow quality should be good (dry and powdery) with whatever snow we do receive.
Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Tuesday (Jan 24).