Jackson Hole Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Jackson Hole Daily Snow

By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 1 month ago February 28, 2024

Strong Storm Brewing Thursday Night to Saturday

Summary

The Tetons picked up another 2-5" of low-density snow on Tuesday and conditions will remain great on Wed with soft snow. We won't see much of a break as another strong storm is on track for late this week with heavy snow and strong winds expected Thu night to Sat. The deepest conditions can be expected Sat and this looks like a medium density event. Low-density refills likely Sun with cold temps.

Short Term Forecast

Snow Totals:

Snow showers on Tuesday resulted in another 2-5 inches across the Tetons with lower elevations picking up another inch or so.

Here are the latest 24-hour snow totals:

  • 5" - Jackson Hole - Rendezvous Bowl
  • 4" - Jackson Hole - Raymer Plot
  • 3" - Surprise Meadow
  • 2" - Jackson Hole - Mid-Mountain
  • 2" - Grand Targhee - Chief Joseph Bowl
  • 2" - Grand Targhee - Base (Snow Stake)
  • 1" - Jackson Hole - Base
  • 1" - Teton Pass West
  • 1" - Snow King
  • 1" - Togwotee Pass
  • 0.8" - Jackson

February has been an amazing month, and in many way has saved our ski season after a slow start. Jackson Hole's upper mountain and Targhee are both over 100 inches for the month, and over 300 inches for the season. 

Season-to-date snowfall and current base depth is now right around average, and snowpack in terms of water content is only slightly below average (85-90% of average) which is an amazing turn-around as we were close to record low values at the beginning of January.

Check out the monthly and seasonal snowfall breakdown:

Forecast for Wednesday:

We are hanging onto cloudy skies, cold temperatures, and light snow showers on Wednesday morning. Light snow showers and flurries will gradually taper off as the day progresses and additional amounts will be very light (trace-1").

Temperatures will warm up to near 20ºF at 9,000 feet and near 30ºF in the valleys on Wednesday afternoon. Skies will remain mostly cloudy but I wouldn't rule out some occasional sun peaking through. 

Winds will be out of the west/southwest with ridgetop gusts of 25-35 mph.

Forecast for Thursday to Saturday:

Get ready for the next big storm cycle!

A trough of low pressure will deepen across the West Coast late this week and the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Ranges will be slammed with heavy snow.

Once this trough sets up over California, a strong southwest to west/southwest flow will direct moisture and energy into the Tetons with periods of heavy snow from Thursday night through Saturday.

Winds will be a factor during this storm and could lead to lift closures and there will be snow density fluctuations, but the overall trend looks to be more right-side up (trending from higher density to lower density).

Thursday – A significant warm-up will occur ahead of this system with high temps rising to near 30ºF at 9,000 feet and to near 40ºF in the valleys. Winds will also become strong out of the southwest, especially in the afternoon, with wind holds a possibility on higher elevation lifts.

Skies will be mostly cloudy and light snow showers will be possible during the day at the leading edge of hti system, but daytime accumulations will be light. Also, we could see a transition to a rain/snow mix in the valleys below 6,500 feet.

Thursday Night – Snowfall rates will gradually begin to pick up overnight, though I think accumulations will still be rather modest initially with 2-4" expected by Friday AM reports. This snow will be coming in wet/dense with continued strong winds.

Temperatures will also remain above freezing in the valleys overnight with a rain/snow mix expected.

Friday – A slow-moving cold front will work its way into our area during the morning and will stall just south and east of our area (likely around the Continental Divide). Snowfall rates will also become heavier during the daytime hours and the arrival of colder air will result in snow becoming lower-density (not blower, but noticeably drier than Thursday night).

Winds will remain very strong and will veer to WSW behind the cold front with ridgetop gusts of 50-60 mph in the morning and 40-50 mph in the afternoon. Wind holds are a strong possibility, and I wouldn't be surprised if Sublette stays closed all day.

Winds aside, it should be a fun storm skiing day in more protected terrain with conditions getting better in the afternoon as new snow adds up.

Friday Night – The stationary front is expected to slowly retreat just north of the Tetons and we could see some heavy bands of snow develop along the boundary, though confidence is low in exactly how this may set up.

Also, winds are projected to shift from WSW to nearly due south, which would lead to increasing snowfall rates around Snow King and the town of Jackson while southerly flow would be less favorable to Targhee and could result in a period of reduced snowfall rates.

For Jackson and the lower valley, accumulation potential will be limited through the day on Friday due to above freezing temps, but eventually temps should lower below freezing by late afternoon/early evening Friday with snowfall picking up overnight.

There is still some uncertainty in Friday night's outlook depending on where the stationary front sets up, and the resulting wind directions, so stay tuned.

Saturday – A stronger cold front will move through from the west, likely around midday, and winds will shift from southerly to westerly. Heavy snowfall is likely with this frontal passage, in the hours leading up to it and likely for a couple of hours behind the front before we see a period of drying on Saturday night.

Strong winds and lift holds will remain possible through the first half of the day on Saturday, then once the front moves through, winds will begin to decrease and there is a better chance of lifts being open across the board.

Overall, Saturday looks like a deep and awesome powder day with the last bit of snow coming in lower-density, but be prepared (and patient) for possible closures early in the day due to wind and avalanche control.

Snow Totals:

I'm going with a total snow forecast of 14-28 inches at Jackson Hole's upper mountain, and 12-24 inches at Targhee and Jackson Hole's mid-mountain. Stay tuned as day-to-day changes are possible moving forward.

For the valleys, I'm expecting the vast majority of the accumulation to occur between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

Storm Total Forecast:

Snow Forecast Breakdown by 24-Hour Periods:

Snowfall Projection from a Blend of Weather Models:

Skiing Conditions – Saturday looks like the best day with the deepest conditions, daytime refills that will be trending lower density, and a trend toward lighter winds in the afternoon. However, Saturday will also be the busiest day.

Friday will offer fun storm skiing conditions and probably fewer crowds, but the compromise will be high winds (and likely limited terrain) and lighter snow totals first thing in the morning for first chair.

Travel – Driving conditions will begin to deteriorate over Teton Pass on Friday morning, just in time for the morning commute, while the valleys will see mainly wet roads due to warm temperatures.

The Friday afternoon/evening commute will be worse as temperatures will be dropping with snow beginning to accumulate in the valleys in addition to the pass. 

Friday night through Saturday afternoon will feature high impact across the board with heavy snow and strong winds leading to areas of blowing snow. Icing is also likely on the roads to some extent Friday night/Saturday morning, and even more so on Saturday night after the storm as temperatures plummet.

Forecast for Sunday:

A trailing weaker storm is expected to move through from the west/southwest on Sunday, and this should provide a nice refresh of low-density blower quality snow thanks to a cold airmass in place.

For now, I'm expecting JHMR and Targhee to pick up another 3-6 inches of snow above 8,000 feet on Sunday and into Sunday evening. Winds are also expected to be lighter, which should make for a great ski day even without the deep opening chair conditions that we see on Saturday. 

Extended Forecast

Next week, a storm will slowly work its way from the Pacific Northwest into the Central/Southern Rockies, and we could potentially see 1-2 rounds of snow during the Tuesday (March 5) to Thursday (March 7) timeframe. However, confidence is low as models are in poor agreement on the north vs south extent of the storm track.

If the storm tracks too far south, we may end up with little to no snow. But if it tracks far enough north, we could see some decent light/moderate refills.

Temperatures are expected to remain below average for early March throughout the week of March 4th-10th, it's just a matter of whether or not we can pick up any meaningful snow.

Beyond the possible stormy period March 5th-7th, models are trending toward a drier pattern heading into the weekend of March 8th-10th. But this isn't a done deal yet as we have seen poor consistency in the longer-range models for this period.

Heading into the week of March 11th, long-range models are hinting at the possibility of storms returning, but we will see.

Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Thursday (Feb 29).

Alan Smith

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Alan Smith

Meteorologist

Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been working in the private sector since 2013. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating.

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