Following an impressive week-long storm cycle, we will see a break in the pattern on Mon & Tue aside from some occasional flurries. The next storm will arrive from the south/southwest on Wed-Thu with moderate snowfall expected followed by lingering snow showers on Fri. Another potentially stronger storm will arrive from the west this weekend (April 1-2).
Short Term Forecast
What a week! We're coming off of 7 straight days of snowfall, which resulted in deep totals across the area through Saturday, followed by lighter lingering snow showers on Sunday. Targhee was the big winner thanks to a robust northwest flow snow event on Friday-Saturday, which resulted in 35 inches over 2 days.
Here are the 7-day snow totals from across the region as of Monday AM:
- 64" - Grand Targhee Chief Joseph Bowl
- 41" - Jackson Hole Rendezvous Bowl
- 35" - Surprise Meadow (GTNP)
- 34" - Jackson Hole Raymer Plot
- 26" - Jackson Hole Mid-Mountain
- 25" - Alta
- 18" - Snow King
- 17" - Togwotee Pass
- 17" - Driggs
- 14" - Wilson (Fall Creek Rd)
- 11" - Jackson Hole Base
- 9" - Jackson Lake
- 6" - Jackson
This has been quite a season across the Tetons. One of the snowiest on record? Well, it depends on location and elevation.
First, let's take a look at season-to-date and monthly snowfall numbers. This is currently the 4th snowiest March on record at the Rendezvous Bowl Plot dating back to 1975 (the record is 154" in 2011). Grand Targhee only has records dating back to 2011 at its Chief Joseph Bowl Plot, but this has been the snowiest March we've seen at this location since then.
The Rendezvous Bowl Plot at Jackson Hole's upper mountain is now up to 552 inches on the season. This is currently in 4th place on the list of all-time snowiest winters through April 1st. I don't expect us to reach the all-time record by the end of the month, but there's a good chance we will reach 2nd or 3rd place.
Interestingly enough, while snowfall has been above average at Jackson Hole's mid-mountain and base area plots, we are nowhere close to being one of the snowiest winters on record at either of these locations. Currently, snowfall at both locations is outside the top 10.
Snowfall records at all of the above locations go back to the winter of 1974-1975, so almost 50 years worth of data.
The period of record at Grand Targhee's Chief Joseph Bowl Plot is much shorter, dating back to only 2010-2011. However, in this shorter 13-year period, we are currently in second place for season snowfall through April 1st.
Snowpack (the amount of snow on the ground) is 119% of average in the mid to upper elevations of the Tetons currently. While very impressive, this is still well shy of record levels.
Interestingly enough, while low-elevation snowfall (the amount of snow that has accumulated over the course of the season) is well shy of record levels, the amount of snow on the ground in late March is one of the deepest on record for so late in the year.
With the caveat that there are numerous years with missing data, the snow depth in the town of Jackson of 26 inches is the 2nd deepest on record for this date. The record for March 27th snow depth is 36 inches in 1985.
No matter how you cut it, this has been a very impressive winter across the region and late season conditions have been incredible thanks to abundant late season snowfall and well-below-average temperatures.
Forecast for Monday to Tuesday:
We are experiencing a relative break in the pattern early this week. Skies are starting out mostly sunny to partly cloudy on Monday morning, and we can actually see the higher peaks of the Tetons for the first time in over a week.
Cloud cover will increase a bit on Monday afternoon due to lingering moisture, and the atmosphere will also become unstable as the sun heats up the lower atmosphere while the airmass aloft remains very cold. As a result, we could see a few isolated snow showers develop in the afternoon. Any snowfall will be light, spotty, and brief.
Temperatures will remain cold for late March with highs in the low/mid teens at 9,000 feet and upper 20s in the valley. Winds will be light to moderate out of the west/northwest.
On Tuesday, dry conditions will prevail through the daytime hours with a mix of sun and clouds. However, south/southwest winds will increase in the afternoon with ridgetop wind gusts of 30-35 mph. The south/southwest flow will also bring warmer air into the region with highs reaching the upper 20s at 9,000 feet and near 40 in the valleys.
On Tuesday night, we may see some stray flurries as a little bit of moisture arrives ahead of the next storm. However, little if any accumulations are expected at this time. Temperatures will also be milder on Tuesday night compared to recent nights.
Forecast for Wednesday to Friday:
A large area of low pressure will dig well southward into California before moving into the Great Basin. We will see an embedded disturbance arrive from the south/southwest later Wednesday and into Thursday, resulting in our next round of snowfall.
Snow will begin sometime on Wednesday afternoon and continue through Wednesday night and Thursday morning with south/southwest winds favoring the Southern Tetons and Southern Jackson Hole Valley initially. Temperatures will be starting out relatively mild during this period, resulting in wetter/denser snow.
By midday Thursday, winds will turn westerly with additional snowfall expected on Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. Targhee will do better with this latter round of snowfall compared to Wednesday night/early Thursday.
Temperatures will also trend colder from later Thursday through Thursday night, though not as cold as what we experienced this past weekend.
Here is my early snow forecast for Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning:
- 4-8" - Jackson Hole above 8,000 feet
- 3-6" - Grand Targhee
- 3-6" - Snow King
- 1-3" - Jackson Hole Valley
- TR-1" - Teton Valley
On Friday, lingering moisture in a west/southwest flow will result in additional snow showers with a few more inches of snow possible across the higher terrain. Snow quality will be a bit drier across the higher elevations as well compared to Wednesday/Thursday.
I'm not expecting the Wed-Fri cycle to be a significant wind event that would cause major travel/lift issues. However, we will see some moderate gusts on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, with a trend toward lighter winds expected thereafter.
We won't see much of a break between storms, as another storm is expected to hit the Cascades late in the week and then impact the Tetons this weekend (Sat, April 1 to Sun, April 2). Early indications are that this storm could be stronger than the previous one with some decent jet stream support to work with.
The pattern from approximately April 3rd-7th is also looking quite active with additional storms likely along with continued colder-than-average temperatures. There are some hints that the pattern may relax somewhat for Jackson Hole's closing weekend on April 8th-9th, but confidence is low this far out.
Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Tuesday (March 28)
Moving forward, I will gradually be transitioning to spring/summer hours as the seasons change with forecasts confined to Monday-Friday, and will be taking weekends off unless something significant is happening. During active patterns, I'll post daily Mon-Fri (and occasionally Sat), and during quiet patterns, I'll write posts on Mon-Wed-Fri. I'll also be taking some time off to travel and recharge in late April/May.
Ski Resort Closing Dates:
Snow King - March 26
Jackson Hole - April 9
Grand Targhee - April 16