The first of two western storms will bring more snow to the Northern Rockies on Wednesday and Thursday. Then, a stronger storm with very cold air (by October standards) will arrive toward the end of the week, bringing more significant snow to the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies.
Short Term Forecast
Recent snow in British Columbia, Alberta, and Northern New England
The storm track has favored the British Columbia Interior and the Canadian Rockies over the past week with early season snow and low snow levels that reached base areas of some resorts. The snowpack is already building up nicely on the upper mountains of ski areas such as Revelstoke, Lake Louise, Whitewater, and Fernie.
South of the border, snow has been falling near and east of the Continental Divide in Montana and Northern Wyoming as well.
Our new snow depth map estimates that some areas in British Columbia and Alberta have over 20 inches (50 cm) of settled snow depth as of Tuesday, October 20th, while the Northern U.S. Rockies have similar snow depths along the Continental Divide.
Back east, Northern New England got in on the fun last weekend with snow falling across Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine. There were many awesome scenes of fall colors in the valleys with fresh snow in the mountains above.
Many of the higher elevation areas in Northern New England received 6-10 inches of snow last weekend.
Forecast for Wed, Oct 21 – Thu, Oct 22
A relatively weak storm will brush the Washington Cascades and areas west of the Continental Divide in Montana/Idaho/Wyoming with light snow on Wednesday and Thursday. Areas along and east of the Continental Divide in Montana will be more favored during this storm with locally heavy snow possible.
Forecast for Fri, Oct 23 – Sat, Oct 24
A stronger storm with very cold air by October standards will bring snow to Washington and Southwest British Columbia during the day on Friday with low snow levels. Idaho, Montana, and Northwest Wyoming will see their heaviest snow on Friday night and Saturday. If this were mid-season, we would be talking about a full-on powder day for many areas, especially given the cold airmass which will result in a more powdery snowfall than is typical for October.
Forecast for Sun, Oct 25 - Mon, Oct 26
After dumping heavy snow in the Northern Rockies early in the weekend, the storm system will "split" on Sunday. The northern stream will likely bring a good round of snow to Northern Colorado, who desperately needs the moisture given the current fire situation there.
Meanwhile, the southern system will develop into a "cut-off low" and will likely bring heavy snow to some parts of the Southwest and Southern Rockies. Cut-off lows are notoriously difficult to forecast in advance, so where most of the snow ends up falling remains a question mark. For now, Southern Utah and Colorado and Northern Arizona and New Mexico are all in play for possible snow on Sunday/Monday.
Outlook for Tue, Oct 26 – Sat, Oct 31
This period will start out with a lingering cut-off low somewhere in the vicinity of the Four Corners. This could result in additional snow for portions of the Southwest and Southern Rockies. High pressure will build over the West toward the end of this period with the storm track shifting north into Northern BC and Southeast Alaska. Meanwhile, the East will turn colder and more active with a storm possible in New England as we finish out the month of October.
Thanks so much for reading and please check back in for my next post on Wednesday, October 28th.
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