Jackson Hole Daily Snow
By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 9, 2023
Friday's snow event delivered to the west side of the Tetons with 17 inches of low-density snow piling up at Targhee. Jackson Hole is reporting 9 inches at its upper mtn and 5 inches at mid-mtn. Skiing conditions will be very good this weekend so get out and enjoy. On Sunday we will see another light snow event, then it looks like we will head into an extended dry spell.
Short Term Forecast
- New snow totals over the past 24 hours include 17" at Targhee (6-7" overnight) and 5-9" at Jackson Hole (2-4" overnight). Snow quality is blower.
- Storm total snowfall since Wednesday night ranges from 15-28" across the higher terrain of the Tetons.
- A break in the pattern will occur Saturday with cold temps and soft snow conditions.
- A weak storm on Sunday will bring a refresh of 2-5 inches of snow to the Tetons.
- Light snow showers are possible Monday, then a dry pattern will take hold from Tuesday through Saturday, Dec 16th (at least).
Snow Totals and Current Conditions:
The second part of the storm cycle on Friday delivered big time on the west side of the Tetons. This was a perfect setup for Targhee with cold air in place, abundant moisture, an unstable atmosphere, and favorable light to moderate winds out of the northwest.
This helped the orographic snow machine to kick in, and Targhee received 17 inches of low-density blower pow in 24 hours. I was lucky enough to make it out there yesterday and can confirm that the snow conditions were outstanding.
The base of Targhee also received 16 inches in 24 hours per the stick of truth (snow stake cam) so conditions are good from top to bottom. The most pleasant surprise from this event is that snow continued well after dark as the snow stake received another 7 inches after lifts closed.
The snow stake is showing close to 14 inches since it was last cleared around 9 am on Friday (and 16 inches in 24 hours).
As is often the case with northwest flow events, the top of Jackson Hole also did quite well with snow totals dropping off substantially with elevation on the east side of the Tetons. Jackson Hole is reporting 9" at its upper mountain station, 5 inches at mid-mountain, and an inch at the base.
Lots of new terrain is opening up at Jackson Hole on Saturday so there will be plenty of fresh snow to enjoy. Just remember that it's early season and there may be obstacles lurking under the new snow.
Here are the latest 24-hour snow totals as of 5 am Saturday:
- 17" - Grand Targhee - Chief Joseph Bowl
- 16" - Grand Targhee - Base (Snow Stake)
- 9" - Jackson Hole - Rendezvous Bowl
- 5" - Jackson Hole - Raymer Plot
- 5" - Jackson Hole - Mid-Mountain
- 5" - Togwotee Pass
- 3" - Surprise Meadow
- 1" - Jackson Hole - Base
- 1" - Snow King
- 0.3" - Town of Jackson
Here are the latest storm snow totals since Wednesday night:
- 28" - Grand Targhee - Chief Joseph Bowl
- 24.5" - Grand Targhee - Base (Snow Stake)
- 22" - Jackson Hole - Rendezvous Bowl
- 15" - Jackson Hole - Raymer Plot
- 13" - Surprise Meadow
- 10" - Jackson Hole - Mid-Mountain
- 8" - Togwotee Pass
- 6" - Snow King
- 3" - Jackson Hole - Base
- 1.8" - Town of Jackson
Thursday's snow was higher density (10:1 snow-liquid ratios), and Friday's snow was much lower density (16:1 snow-liquid ratios). In other words, this was a right-side-up snow event that is skiing very well.
Forecast for Saturday:
Cold and dry conditions will prevail with decreasing clouds and light winds. High temps will be in the low teens in the mountains and 20s in the valleys, and this cold airmass will ensure that snow conditions remain soft.
Forecast for Sunday:
A weak storm will arrive with a light refresh of snow. This storm has been a little tricky to nail down as models haven't been in great agreement and the pattern is somewhat disorganized.
We will have a lot of moisture arriving from the Pacific with subtropical origins, and as a result, warmer air will also work its way in. Fortunately, this will be nothing like the warm-up that occurred early last week but snow quality with this storm will be a little denser compared to Friday's snow.
The overall dynamics with this storm will be weak, though we will have a little bit of jet stream support on Sunday morning/early afternoon that could help. Typically, you want to be located just north of the nose of the jet stream, but if you are south of the jet stream in the "right entrance region", this is also a favorable position to see enhanced snowfall rates.
Snow will begin early Sunday morning with off-and-on snow showers throughout the day. Winds will start relatively strong from the west (gusts to 30-40 mph) before gradually decreasing late in the day and on Sunday night.
On Sunday night, as westerly winds become weaker, lingering snow showers will likely favor Targhee and the west side of the Tetons as the atmosphere will be stable and snow showers may have trouble moving over onto the east side of the Tetons (what we refer to as a "blocked" flow across a terrain barrier).
Overall, I think this will be a minor event, and here is what I'm expecting for snow totals through Monday AM:
- 3-5" - Grand Targhee
- 2-4" - Jackson Hole Upper Mountain
- 1-3" - Jackson Hole Mid-Mountain
- 1-3" - Togwotee Pass
- 1-2" - Teton Valley
- 0.5-2" - Snow King
- TR-1" - Jackson Hole Valley
If you're looking to catch some fresh snow, the daytime hours on Sunday will be the best bet, while Targhee could also offer some fresh turns on Monday morning.
Forecast for Monday:
The weather pattern will remain unsettled as the center of Sunday's weak storm passes to our south. We will still have some lingering moisture but winds aloft will become weak and variable and generally unfavorable for snowfall.
I do think we could see some light snow showers during the daytime hours, but accumulations look minimal, ranging from nothing to maybe an inch or two in the Tetons, with no more than a half-inch in the valleys.
Snow conditions will remain soft on the slopes, however.
A ridge of high pressure will build over the Western U.S. and will result in dry conditions from Tuesday (Dec 12th) through Saturday (Dec 16th).
High temperatures are projected to reach the mid to upper 20s each day on the upper slopes of JHMR and Targhee and could approach freezing up to mid-mountain. Valley inversions are also likely to develop.
Our next chance of snow as of right now is around December 17th-18th as a storm is projected to move into the Western U.S. However, there is a decent possibility that the storm will miss us to the south so I'm not getting my hopes up about this pattern.
Looking further out (December 19th and beyond), the pattern also does not look favorable as longer-range models are projecting high pressure to rebuild. So make sure you get out and enjoy the snow while it's good this weekend, because we may have to wait a while before it gets good again.
Thanks so much for reading! I'll have a shorter update on Sunday morning (Dec 10).
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