Washington Daily Snow

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By Luke Stone, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 28, 2024

Second Major Storm of the Week Continues

Summary

Our second major storm in the last five days continues on Wednesday. Heavy snow is expected through Thursday before a transition to snow showers for the rest of the weekend. Significant additional accumulations in the 1.5 - 3 foot range are expected in the Cascades during this time. The Selkirks will get in on the action this time as well, with 10 - 20 in possible by the end of the weekend.

Short Term Forecast

Major storm #2 this week got underway last night, and already the resorts are reporting solid totals. Heavy snow continues on Wednesday with rising temperatures and strong winds. A cold front arriving early Thursday morning will bring lighter snow to the region as winds subside. We'll remain showery through the remainder of the weekend. 

Snow levels started rising last night and that will continue on Wednesday, reaching 4k in the north and east, and 4.5k in the central and southern Cascades. Temperatures climb until later in the afternoon, resulting in many more hours of upside-down snow, and even some rain at the base of Mt. Baker and the Snoqualmie areas. Heavier precipitation may provide enough evaporational cooling to bring snow to the bases of those resorts for part or even much of the day. Above the rain/snow line, while it will be soft and smooth, it will ski and ride a little funky.

Winds will increase throughout the day as well, further adding to the suboptimal snow quality. Some upper mountain wind holds are likely as well, especially at Crystal and the Selkirk resorts. 

Significant accumulations are expected at mid and upper elevations, with 4 - 8 in by 4 pm. Overall it won't be the best day to ski and ride, but if upper-mountain lifts can manage to keep running, it won't be as wet. 

A cold front approaches the state Wednesday afternoon, putting a stop to the rising temperatures in the afternoon. Snow levels will then start to slowly fall until the cold front crosses the state. Around midnight snow levels will start to drop more rapidly from north to south. Winds will be decreasing overnight as well. 

The big question for the powder hounds searching for bottomless, low-density snow is the timing of the cold front. This will determine how much lower-density snow falls before lifts open on Thursday. The latest guidance brings the coldest air a tad too late in my opinion, with the low-density snow not falling until around 6 am. This would leave only a few hours for snow of this quality to accumulate. 

Don't get me wrong. We'll have around 6 - 12 in of additional new snow Thursday morning, and it will be right side up and getting lighter still as snow continues as lifts open. I am looking for the same snow quality we had on Monday, and I don't think we'll get that until Thursday morning with limited moisture remaining. 

Another 3 - 6 in should pile up during the day as well, and will be lighter snow. I wouldn't mind some delayed openings, and at a resort like Crystal, where things are staggered, it could work out well. With southwest winds continuing even after the cold front, Mt. Baker could exceed those totals on Thursday and provide some quality powder conditions.

The Selkirks will see moderate snow during the day on Wednesday as well as Thursday (2 - 5 in), with lighter snow during the overnight hours (1 - 3 in).

Snow showers will continue from Thursday night through the weekend, becoming more scattered on Friday night. Below is the additional snow expected through the end of Thursday.

Extended Forecast

Looking beyond the weekend, the models have another storm arriving early next week, as early as Monday night. The storm track looks a bit south for another blockbuster, but it could bring another round of heavy snow. While the models all have this storm, they bring it in via different mechanisms, so confidence remains low at this time. More chances for snow are possible heading into the second week of March as well.

Thanks for reading the Washington Daily Snow!

Luke Stone
Forecaster, OpenSnow

About Our Forecaster

Luke Stone

Forecaster

Luke Stone earned his M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Utah, with a research focus on seasonal forecasting. Luke has scored deep days around the world, including coast-to-coast across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

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