It has been an interesting winter across most of North America with snowy periods interspersed with long dry spells, but April has been colder and snowier than usual for just about all regions. An active pattern will continue across the Northwest & Northern Rockies through the end of the month with snow & rain showers. We also take a look at current snowpack levels and the winter as a whole.
Short Term Forecast
Recent Snow Totals Across the West
The number of ski resorts that are still open continues to dwindle as we head into the final few days of April. However, areas that have remained open scored deep powder days recently, including Snowbird who is reporting 35 inches over the past 5 days (ending Tuesday).
Spring Snowpack Update and Quick Winter Recap
This has been a hit-or-miss winter across most of the Western U.S. December and early January were very snowy across much of the West, but January and February brought prolonged dry spells to many areas. March was somewhat more active with some good storm cycles in New Mexico and Colorado, but snowpack was still below average across the West as a whole by the end of the month.
April, on the other hand, has been very snowy and much colder than average across most of the West and snowpack numbers relative to average have improved significantly due to both late-season accumulations and a delay of spring snowmelt.
Snowpack relative to average is deepest across the Northwest and Montana, as these areas have benefited from heavy April snowfall along with lower-than-typical snow levels for this late in the year due to cold temperatures.
Tahoe has had perhaps one of the weirdest seasons with near-record snowfall in December followed by one of its driest January-March periods on record, and now one of its snowiest Aprils in recent history.
While the Western U.S. generally had a below-average snow season, it was a different story north of the border.
Alaska, in particular, had a huge winter with late April snowpack ranging from 125-150% of average in the major ski regions. Alyeska Resort received 813 inches of snow this season!
Portions of British Columbia, especially around Revelstoke and Rogers Pass, also had a strong winter with above-average snowfall, while coastal areas along with southern areas near the U.S. border had near to slightly below average snowfall.
The map above is only updated on the 1st of every month, and British Columbia has also see a late-season boost in snowfall since April 1st. Province-wide snowpack was 101% of average on April 1st, but as of April 22nd, snowpack had increased to 114% of average.
Alberta also had a strong winter with above-average snowfall at Lake Louise and Sunshine. Snowpack across the Canadian Rockies in Alberta generally ranged from 100-140% of average at the end of March (when the last report was issued).
Across the Eastern U.S., winter got off to a slow start in December with warm temperatures and little snowfall. However, conditions improved after the holidays with more abundant snowfall from January to March, and there were even some bonus late-season snow events well into April.
Forecast for Wed 4/27 – Thu 4/28:
A weak disturbance on Wednesday will result in snow and rain showers across the Northwest and Northern Rockies. A somewhat stronger storm will arrive on Thursday with Oregon being favored for the heaviest snowfall while lighter snow/rain reaches the Northern Rockies late in the day.
Snow levels will be low (near/below base areas) across the Cascades while the Northern Rockies will see higher snow levels with rain falling at low to mid-mountain areas.
The Northeast will also see another chilly late-season storm with high-elevation snow expected across New England.
Forecast for Fri 4/29 – Sat 4/30:
A cold front will move across the Northern Rockies early Friday with heavy snow developing across portions of Western Montana, while Idaho and Wyoming will see lighter snow. Another storm will reach the Cascades on Friday night and Saturday with a mix of rain and snow along with higher snow levels. Snow will also continue into Friday across Northern New England and Southeast Canada.
Forecast for Sun 5/1 – Mon 5/2:
Two storms are expected across the West during this time but confidence is low regarding the storm track as well as snow levels and possible snow amounts. For now, the Northwest and the Northern Rockies look the most favored, but the Sierra could potentially get in on the action as well.
Outlook for Tue 5/3 – Sat 5/7:
A cool and unsettled pattern will prevail across the Northwest through early May with frequent shots of rain and snow expected. Higher elevations of the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, and Northern Rockies will continue to pick up decent snow totals from time to time. California, Utah, and Colorado could see some light snow at times as well with warmer/drier conditions prevailing further south.
Thanks so much for reading this season! The US & Canada Daily Snow will resume in October 2022.
In the meantime, be sure to tune into the Western U.S. Daily Summit from May through September and download our OpenSummit app if you haven't already.
Thanks again and have a great summer!
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