US and Canada Daily Snow

All eyes on Hurricane Ian, warm but unsettled out West

Summary

Hurricane Ian is set to make landfall in Western Florida on Wed as a major hurricane. As this storm slowly moves north, it will bring heavy rains & gusty winds to the Southern Appalachians Fri to Mon. The West has been very warm recently, but a slow-moving storm will bring showers, t-storms, & a little bit of high elevation snow to the PNW & Rockies over the next several days.

Short Term Forecast

Forecast Highlights:

  • Hurricane Ian will make landfall in Western Florida on Wednesday with significant impacts expected, before weakening but producing heavy rain over the Southern Appalachians this weekend.
  • Showers for the Northwest on Wednesday along with cooler temps, before drying out late in the week.
  • Multiple days of showers & thunderstorms for the Rockies from Wednesday through Monday as a slow-moving storm impacts the area.
  • Snow levels will start out very high across the Rockies through Thursday, before lowering on Friday with light accumulations for the higher elevation from Friday to Monday.
  • More snow for Alaska over the next week with average snow levels in the 3,000-4,000 foot range.
  • Cool and dry pattern ahead for the Northeast with generally pleasant fall conditions through Monday.

Big Picture:

While we don't have much snow to talk about outside of Alaska, hurricanes have been the main topic in the weather world recently. Last week, Hurricane Fiona hit Southeast Canada as a powerful "post-tropical" cyclone, meaning it had taken on non-tropical characteristics despite its intensity, which was equivalent to that of a Category 1 hurricane. 

Hurricane Ian is the big story this week with a Florida landfall forthcoming on Wednesday (more on that to follow in our discussion).

Further north, a trough of low pressure over the Northeast and Mid-Alantic is resulting in cool temperatures along with dry conditions – at least until moisture from Ian eventually arrives.

Across the West, temperatures have been well above average early this week and some daily records have even been broken. The pattern will turn more active over the second half of the week, however, as a slow-moving storm arrives, bringing a quick shot of rain to the Cascades and a more prolonged period of unsettled/showery weather to the Rockies. 

Despite the storm system out West and overall cooling trend, temperatures will generally be above average across the Western U.S. over the next week, while further north in Canada temperatures will be well above average. The Eastern U.S. will remain in a cooler than average pattern.

Hurricane Ian:

Hurricane Ian will hit Western Florida on Wednesday with the center of the storm likely to make landfall somewhere between Sarasota and Ft. Myers Beach. This storm is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane, which is defined as a Category 3 or higher. As of 8 AM EDT Wednesday morning (prior to landfall), Ian had strengthend to a strong Category 4. 

Widespread and significant damage due to storm surge, powerful winds, and flooding rains can be expected across much of Florida with this storm on Wednesday and Thursday, and the OpenSnow team sends our best wishes to those who live in this area. 

For the most timely and detailed information on Ian, please consult the National Hurricane Center.

Taking a closer look, you can track Hurricane Ian through OpenSnow (or OpenSummit) via our Radar and Forecast Radar map overlays.

Also, check out our Forecast Wind Gust map overlay. Note that wind gusts are not the same thing as sustained winds (the latter of which is used to categorize a hurricane's strength), but this is still a good resource to get an idea of the intensity of this storm as it reaches the Western Florida Coast.

This storm will really slow down after it makes landfall due to a stationary front in place across Northern Florida. This will result in exceptional rainfall amounts and freshwater flooding across parts of Florida – something that often gets overlooked but is just as dangerous when compared to storm surge and winds.

The storm will eventually work its way north over the weekend and will weaken, but significant moisture and lingering energy will produce heavy rainfall and possible flooding across the Southern Appalachians from Georgia to Virginia, while Maryland and Pennsylvania will be right on the edge of the heavier rainfall potential as well.

For outdoor enthusiasts across the Southern Appalachians, this would probably be a good weekend to sit out due to widespread heavy rain and flash flooding potential. 

Forecast for Wed (9/28) – Thu (9/29):

The Western storm will work its way into Washington and Oregon on Wednesday with showers developing. This doesn't look like a heavy event, but hopefully, it will help out with the fires that are still burning across the Cascades.

The Southwest and Four Corners will also see some light showers and thunderstorms during the day on Wednesday. On Thursday, showers will become more numerous across the Rockies but snow levels will be very high with warm air in place (likely near the tops of the highest peaks).

The Northeast will also see some light showers on Wednesday, before drying out on Thursday. Across the far north, Southeast Alaska will continue to see periods of heavy mountain snow.

Forecast for Fri (9/30) – Sat (10/1):

On Friday and Saturday, cooler air will work its way into the Rockies as a storm continues to impact the area. Additional rain showers can be expected across the Central Rockies during this period with a transition to snow across the higher elevations, favoring the Wind River Range, Uinta Range, and Central/Northern Colorado Rockies.

Across the East, heavy rain from the remnants of Ian will reach the Southern Appalachians with areas of flash flooding possible.

Additional rounds of snow can be expected during this period across Southeast Alaska and Northwest BC.

Forecast for Sun (10/2) – Mon (10/3):

The storm system across the Rockies will linger into Sunday and possibly even Monday with additional low elevation rain showers and high elevation snow showers expected, mainly across the Central and Southern Rockies near and east of the Divide.

The focus of heavy rainfall from the remnants of Ian will shift into Virginia and West Virginia, possibly extending into Southern Pennsylvania as well.

Up north, the mountains of Southeast Alaska will continue to see periods of heavy snow.

Extended Forecast

Outlook for Tue (10/4) – Sat (10/8):

The pattern is looking relatively quiet for much of North America next week with pleasant fall conditions expected. Moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Ian could result in some shower activity extending northward into New York and New England, but rain amounts and coverage will likely be much less compared to areas further south from the days prior. 

Across the West, high pressure is expected to dominate the pattern with minimal precipitation through this period, while Alaska will continue to be favored for mountain snow. 

Beyond this period and heading into mid-October, there are some hints of a wetter and more active pattern developing across the Pacific Northwest, and this could potentially mean some snow for the higher elevations. Confidence is low this far out, but it's something to keep an eye on at least.

Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Wednesday (10/5).

ALAN SMITH