For the weekend high pressure continues to build in. We will see sunny skies and high temperatures into the 40's on the upper mountains, and 50's down low and at lake level. Wind gusts to 40 mph may continue today on the mountain top, but should start to relax over the weekend. Next week we begin a pattern change towards wetter and eventually cold weather. We could see the first storm move in Tuesday. The latest model runs show light precipitation possible Tuesday with snow levels above 8,000 feet. We may just see light high elevation snow up to an inch or two on the highest peaks. The next stronger storm moves in next Thursday into Friday. Snow levels this time could start around 7000 feet and fall quickly below lake level. So this could be an all snow event. We could see several inches of snow up to a foot+ on the mountains by Friday. There may not be much of a break next Saturday as the next in the series of storms could move in as soon as next Sunday with storms continuing into the week of the 22nd.
Spring Break in Lake Louise
Short Term Forecast
Ever since this blog was just an email list to friends and co-workers I have always felt like it was just a private club of people that I got to talk about snow with. We have always been crazy enough to discuss patterns more than 2 weeks out and potential storms more than a week out. Always looking for the next big snowfall.
I always find it amusing when we get within a week of a storm and the media picks up on the pattern change or storm and it starts getting shared on social and the buzz gets going around town. It makes me appreciate our private club on here that was talking about the pattern changes like the one coming next week, weeks in advance. But we are the ones obsessing over perfecting identifying such things as far out as possible.
We have a condition I believe should be studied by mental health professionals called "snow obsession disorder". We have no control over not trying to find the next storm. Watching run after run on model after model and reading everything out there about the global patterns that could affect our weather. Unfortunately our emotions are sometimes tied to it as well. The good news is that we are now within a week of the pattern we have been hunting all season. Could we finally be in line to receive our snow therapy?
This weekend we have high pressure over the area and highs in the 50's. It's going to be another beautiful weekend. I think after this one we can change the definition of beautiful to heavy snow and cold air.
For Tuesday we have the next storm moving in. Low pressure approaches the Pacific NW coast and then heads North. A cold front to its South will push into Northern CA on Tuesday. The front will have some moisture but will be falling apart as it moves inland.
We still have disagreement on the models. The GFS has been consistent with showing little to no moisture making it into the area on Tuesday. It has the Canadian model on its side.
The GFS did have a wetter run last night on the 0z run but was back to dry on the 6z run above this morning. The European model was consistent on a wetter and colder scenario. It had a dry run 3 runs ago we talked about yesterday. But now it has been wetter again the last two runs.
We are only 4 days out so there is going to have to be a compromise in the next few days. The European run could drop snow levels to 7000 feet for this storm and bring several inches to the mountains. The GFS obviously nothing and it has snow levels up around 8000 feet. Our automated resort forecast you see on the right sidebar and on the resort pages use the European model more than 3 days out which is why you are seeing several inches forecast.
For my forecast we use the average of the two models and the GFS snow level forecast. That keeps our expectations realistic. If the models trend towards to the Euro then we are pleasantly surprised.
We have a break next Wednesday with some mild air still around and highs into the 40's and 50's. Then the next storm moves in next Thursday. This time the trough pushes further into the West Coast. Low pressure moves inland well to our North with a cold front pushing through Northern CA. This time the front should hold together and have more moisture with it.
The latest GFS/European model runs are in decent agreement on just over an inch of liquid along the crest with lesser amounts moving East across the basin.
The latest runs show snow levels starting around 7000 feet and quickly falling below lake level as the cold front moves through. We are still 6 days out so plenty of time to see if this pulls in more moisture. We will put out the initial snowfall forecast tomorrow. Right now it looks like it could be a quick hitting cold front Thursday into Thursday night that brings several inches of snow with a foot+ for the higher elevations.
By next Friday we may have lingering snow showers, but we may start to clear out with drier weather into next Saturday. Behind the cold front on Friday a cold trough settles in over the West. So we may be headed into a colder pattern finally with below average high temperatures into the week of the 22nd.
With the trough staying in place over the West Coast for as far as we can see right now, the storms should continue to move through every couple days. The European and Canadian models push the next storm in as early as next Sunday the 21st, and the GFS is only delayed until Monday. These storms may continue to be cold as well with lower snow levels.
It's too early to look at specific storms beyond a week but through next Sunday-Monday the 9 day total precip forecasts look pretty wet.
In our fantasy range beyond 10 days it looks like the pattern could hold through the end of the month with the trough near the West Coast and storms continuing. Looking at the CFS PNA forecast it tanks negative right into February which is a sign the that it sees the trough staying into February.
Looking the European weeklies forecast that came out yesterday it doesn't have a 5 day period without precip over the next 6 weeks. The control run is off the chart over the next 30 days.
Of course we don't put stock in forecasts out that far, but we just take a peek at what the pattern may do beyond 10 days. Right now I'm not seeing any signs that the storm door closes through the end of January once it opens this week, and things look as good as they could this far out going into February. Maybe the 2nd half of Winter is going to shape up to be be colder and snowier than the first half? It wouldn't take much to make that statement.
You can see where the ski resorts are currently sitting for snowfall and base versus average on our cool charts on the ski resort pages!
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