Jackson Hole Daily Snow

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Day after day of snow

Summary

Another 5-9 inches of snow fell on Wed-Wed night and more snow is on the way each day from Thursday through Sunday as a series of storms impact the area. Temps will continue to trend downward and will be unseasonably cold this weekend. We may see a brief lull early next week, but then another storm is possible March 28th-29th.

Short Term Forecast

Snow Totals:

Snowfall favored the Southern Tetons, Snow King, and Southern JH Valley on Wednesday, then favored the west side and upper east side of the Teton Range on Wednesday night as winds shifted from southerly to west/northwest.

New snow totals on Thursday AM include 9 inches at Targhee, 7-8 inches at JH upper mountain, 5 inches at JH mid-mountain, and 5 inches at Snow King. Snow-liquid ratios were around 13:1 above 8,500 feet (dry/powdery) and 10:1 across the lower elevations (wetter). 

Here are the snow totals over the past 3 days ending Thursday AM:

  • 17" - Jackson Hole Rendezvous Bowl
  • 17" - Grand Targhee Chief Joseph Bowl
  • 16" - Jackson Hole Raymer Plot
  • 15" - Surprise Lake (GTNP)
  • 12" - Jackson Hole Mid-Mountain
  • 9" - Snow King
  • 8" - Togwotee Pass
  • 5" - Jackson Hole Base

Forecast for Thursday to Thursday Night:

We will remain in a moist westerly flow in between storms during the day on Thursday with orographic snow showers favoring the higher elevations and western slopes during the morning hours. On Thursday afternoon, the atmosphere will become unstable, resulting in more convective snow showers (similar to warm season thunderstorms) that will be numerous on both sides of the range.

Snow showers will continue through Thursday evening, then snowfall will become more widespread by later Thursday night as the next storm approaches from the Pacific Northwest.

Here is my snow forecast for Thursday morning through Friday morning:

  • 4-8" - Jackson Hole above 8,000 feet
  • 4-8" - Grand Targhee
  • 1-3" - Snow King
  • 0.5-2" - Jackson Hole Valley
  • 0.5-2" - Teton Valley

Snow quality will be lower density up high with snow-liquid ratios of around 14:1, while snow quality will be higher-density/wetter across the lower elevations.

High temps on Thursday will reach the low 20s at 9,000 feet with overnight lows in the low teens. Valley high temps will reach the mid 30s on Thursday with overnight lows in the mid 20s.

Ridgetop winds on Thursday will be out of the west at 10-15 mph with gusts to 20-25 mph, before turning west/southwest later Thursday night. 

Forecast for Friday to Friday Night:

Snowfall rates will pick up on Friday morning as the main part of the storm moves through. This storm will involve a negatively-tilted trough, which means the base of the approaching low pressure trough will be located further east (or right) compared to the rest of the trough.

Cyclonic counterclockwise flow around at the base of negatively tilted troughs tend to have more energy and higher instability compared to more normal (or neutral) troughs, and can lead to more chaotic weather as a result. 

Therefore, we should expect heavier snowfall rates on Friday morning across both the higher terrain and the valleys, but there could also be localized bands of heavy snow that are hit-or-miss in nature. Although the time of day isn't ideal due to a lack of solar heating, I wouldn't entirely rule out some lightning activity on Friday morning as this storm moves through. 

A cold front will also move through around midday on Friday, which will lead to an uptick in snowfall around late morning and early afternoon. Winds will also pick up behind the front during the afternoon out of the west at 10-20 mph with gusts to 30-35 mph above 9,000 feet (gusts to 20-25 mph in the valleys).

From later Friday afternoon through Friday evening, snow showers will likely become lighter and more intermittent, at least for a little while.

However, moisture and energy wrapping back around the departing storm may reach the Tetons again from the northwest on Friday night, resulting in another uptick in snowfall overnight, especially along the western slopes and upper eastern slopes of the Teton Range.

Here is my snow forecast for Friday morning through Saturday morning:

  • 4-8" - Jackson Hole above 8,000 feet
  • 4-8" - Grand Targhee
  • 2-4" - Snow King
  • 2-4" - Teton Valley
  • 1-3" - Jackson Hole Valley

Snow quality will be dry and powdery on Friday with snow-liquid ratios of around 15:1. Temperatures at 9,000 feet will peak in the mid teens on Friday morning before gradually trending downward through the afternoon and bottoming out near zero on Friday night. Valley high temps will reach the upper 20s/near 30 on Friday with overnight lows in the teens.

Forecast for Saturday to Saturday Night:

Yet another storm will move across the area from the west/northwest on Saturday, resulting in more snow showers from Saturday morning through Saturday night. This storm looks relatively weaker, but it will keep the snow train going.

Snow totals from Saturday morning through Sunday morning will range from 2-5 inches in the Tetons above 8,000 feet (including JH and Targhee) and a half-inch to 2 inches in the valleys as well as Snow King.

Snow quality will remain dry and powdery (15:1 snow-liquid ratios) with an unseasonably cold airmass in place. Highs on Saturday will struggle to get out of the single digits at 9,000 feet and will reach the mid 20s in the valley. Lows on Saturday night will be near zero at 9,000 feet and around 10 in the valleys.

Winds will also be fairly light on Saturday out of the west to west/southwest up high.

Forecast for Sunday to Sunday Night:

Snow showers will remain possible through the day on Sunday as moisture lingers across the area. Confidence is a bit lower in how things will play out on Sunday versus prior days, but for now, I'm expecting an additional 1-3 inches in the Tetons with a trace to an inch for the valleys.

Temperatures will be similar to Saturday, i.e. unseasonably cold for late March. Winds will also remain light out of the west to west/southwest.

4-Day Snow Totals from Thursday AM to Monday AM:

Total snowfall over the next 4 days will generally range from 1-2 feet above 8,000 feet in the Tetons and 2-10 inches across the lower elevations. 

Here is the day-to-day breakdown:

Skiing Conditions:

This entire period is going to be outstanding for skiing, especially above 8,000 feet where snowfall should be deep enough to bury crusts in most areas. Lower elevation terrain will be reasonably good for this late in the year too, but you'll likely feel some crusts underneath. 

It's not often this good on a day-to-day basis like this in late March, so get out and enjoy!

Travel Conditions:

Consistent winter conditions can be expected over the pass from Thursday through Sunday with a mix of snowpacked, slushy, and icy roads. Valley roads will be snowpacked, slushy, and icy during the mornings with good melting expected in the afternoons.

Winds have trended a bit lighter for this cycle, which should limit blowing snow concerns for the most part. The one exception is on Friday (especially midday to afternoon) when stronger winds will result in areas of blowing snow over the pass and over open valley roads. 

Extended Forecast

We will likely see a break in the pattern on Monday (March 27), though I wouldn't rule out at least a slight chance of snow if we see any moisture lingering in between storms. Temperatures will remain unseasonably cold on Monday, however, with highs in the low teens at 9,000 feet and mid 20s in the valleys.

The next storm will approach our area around Tuesday (March 28) to Wednesday (March 29). Confidence is low in the details, timing, and storm track this far out, but there is a good chance we will see at least some snow from this storm. Temperatures should also moderate a bit following the weekend cold snap.

Looking further out, I still don't see any signs of winter loosening its grip. An active pattern with frequent snow chances and consistently below-average temperatures is likely to continue through the end of March and into the first week of April.

Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Friday (March 24).

ALAN SMITH