By Sam Collentine, Meteorologist Posted 1 year ago April 17, 2023

Did Anyone Accurately Forecast the 2022-23 Winter Season?

The 2022-2023 winter season will go down as one to remember for the Western United States thanks to consistent storms, cold temps, and record-breaking snowfall.

As we close out the season, we thought it would be fun to look back at the winter forecasts that were issued in the fall and see how they performed.

Yes, you guessed it right. These 3-6 month forecasts were far from accurate...

NOAA (Link)

AccuWeather (Link)

OnTheSnow (Link)

WeatherBell (Link)

Farmers' Almanac (Link)

As you can see, nearly every forecast and weather outlet projected below-average snowfall/precipitation for California and into the rest of the Western United States. 

What Actually Happened During the 2022-2023 Winter Season?

Storms ramped up in early November and continued month after month through early April, bringing monster season snowfall to many ski resorts. 

Tap the "Snow Report" tab on any location screen in OpenSnow and scroll down to the "Snowpack" section to view these graphs for any ski resort.

Not only did this provide phenomenal ski conditions but a well above-average snowpack for nearly every river basin. 

The map below shows the percent of snowpack compared to the average snowpack for that day. Yellow/green is below to near average and blue/purple is well above average. This is based on the weight of the snow on the ground, measured by automated backcountry weather stations called SNOTEL.

What about the Westerly QBO or the "Triple Dip La Niña” that OpenSnow talked about in August? OpenSnow ended up being a lot closer to reality and there were many similarities to the 2010-2011 season...

But it's hard to say if the westerly phase of the QBO or if the robust La Niña directly correlated with the above-average winter season.

There are just too many short-term patterns through the winter that can't be forecasted more than 1-2 weeks out and it's these short-term weather patterns that make or break a season.

Technology will continue to advance and someday we might be able to accurately and consistently forecast weather patterns 3-6 months in advance. Until then, upgrade to OpenSnow All-Access for 10-day snow forecasts to help you find the deepest snow.

Every OpenSnow All-Access subscription is also good for 365 days.

Summer & Fall Features

  • Forecasts Anywhere on Earth
  • Live & Forecast Radar
  • Wildfire Smoke Forecast Maps
  • Estimated Trail Conditions
  • Hourly Lightning Forecasts
  • Historical Weather
  • Offline Satellite & Terrain Maps

Winter & Spring Features

  • 10-Day Snow Forecasts
  • Local "Daily Snow" Forecasts
  • Snow Depth & Snowfall Maps
  • Custom Snow Alerts
  • Snow Stake Cams
  • Snowpack Graphs
  • Season Snowfall

That means you can use OpenSnow to track the freeze/thaw cycle for corn snow and peak-bagging this spring, avoid lightning and wildfire smoke this summer, escape to the desert next fall, and find every powder day next winter.

Sam Collentine
[email protected]

Back to All News

About The Author

Sam Collentine


Sam Collentine is the Chief Operating Officer of OpenSnow and lives in Basalt, Colorado. Before joining OpenSnow, he studied Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado, spent time at Channel 7 News in Denver, and at the National Weather Service in Boulder.

Free OpenSnow App