We’re going across North America with this weekend forecast, and conditions are looking great from East to West!
Light snow showers fall across New England today, contributing to small accumulations at most resorts. Cold air filters in on Saturday, bringing partially clearing skies and an enjoyable day of skiing. On Sunday, a strong low pressure system will affect the Northeast, bringing epic snow totals to resorts all over New England. High pressure regains temporary control during the early week, before another low pressure system sets its tracks on the region once again.
Short Term Forecast
Good morning, everybody and happy Friday! We have a great weekend ahead of us, so be sure to wax up and sharpen those edges. A wave of low pressure is projected to traverse over the region today, sparking up light snow showers across New England. Expect 1-3 inches of snowfall throughout the day today, with higher amounts possible in the mountains of northern Vermont. Here is the latest run of the NAM showing areas of enhanced snowfall:
SLP and precipitation type loop courtesy of College of DuPage
Temperatures will gradually increase from southwest to northeast throughout the day Today, starting in the lower teens and rising to the low 20s by the time of last chair. Wind speeds will remain at a steady 20-25 mph throughout the afternoon, increasing by ~5 mph by the evening hours.
The passage of the disturbance will usher in colder air from the north, allowing summit temperatures to drop into the low-mid single digits in the more northern resorts and low teens in the southern resorts during the day on Saturday. High pressure to the northwest will bring a temporary break in cloud coverage, heeding to increasing upper level clouds ahead of the approaching low pressure system. Nevertheless, Saturday will be an excellent day to get out for some carvable runs and warm up those legs before the big day.
On Thursday night we saw 8-15 inches in the southern mountain, and 4-14 inches in central mountains and at Steamboat, so Friday first chair will be a deep powder day. Other northern mountains saw 2-4 inches and northwest flow should bring an additional 2-8 inches on Friday, focused mostly on the northern mountains. The weekend will be dry-ish, then the next storm will bring 3-6+ inches on Monday into Monday evening.
Short Term Forecast
We have been talking about this storm for over one week and I am always nervous waking up on storm mornings to see if the atmosphere delivered the snow that we expected.
Based on mountain cams at 500am on Friday, the storm has delivered and I see the following snow totals.
Southern Mountains: 8-15 inches
Purgatory is reporting 14 inches, Telluride says 8 inches, and Wolf Creek and Silverton are likely into the double digits (haven’t received official reports for these mountains yet).
The snow stake cam at Purgatory tells the story (the official report is taken at a different location and doesn’t exactly match the cam below).
Central Mountains: 4-10 inches
Crested Butte has the highest total of 8-10 inches, then the Aspen area should be in the 4-7 inch range and Cooper is reporting 6 inches.
Northern Mountains: 2-14 inches
Steamboat grabbed 14 inches (via the summit snow stake cam) thanks to a line of intense snow that happened to track right over far northern Colorado, while other mountains along I-70 are generally in the 2-4 inch range.
The snow that fell on Thursday night will likely be rather dense due to warmer temperatures and stronger winds. No matter, a double-digit first chair is a good thing!!
Now around 500am on Friday, the cold front is moving across the state and this will change the wind direction to blow from the northwest. A northwest wind is favorable for the northern mountains, a few central mountains like Aspen Highlands, and also the north side of the southern mountains, like Telluride and Silverton. I expect an additional 2-8+ inches on Friday for these areas favored by northwest winds.
The high-resolution rapid refresh (HRRR) model below gives a typical northwest flow precipitation forecast Friday. Multiply by about 14 to estimate snowfall.
Some snow will continue to fall after lifts close on Friday afternoon in the northern mountains, so keep your eye on mountain snow stake cams (we have them all here on OpenSnow) to see if there will be additional fluffy powder to ski on Saturday morning.
The storm hit and hit hard! Most resorts reporting well over a foot.
The big winner, as expected, was LCC. Snowbird reporting 29″ over past 24 hours. Many other resorts reporting >20″. Unfortunately, LCC is closed until 10am or so. So those that slay it, will need patience.
As for the forecast, snow showers will taper today. Generally a break for Saturday and Sunday. Next storm rolls in Sunday night with snow continuing into Monday. It looks like a 6-12″ type of storm but Monday will be storm day powder!
High pressure takes control Tuesday of next week.
California / Mammoth Mountain
The snow showers didn’t fire up over Mammoth as much as the forecast models were showing for yesterday and last night. The 24-hour totals are 9-14 inches. That brings the 4-day totals to 3.5 feet at the base, and just over 5 feet at the top! (42-62 inches)
Friday we should see clouds stick around as moisture continues to stream into Northern CA to the north. Mountain top winds could still be gusting to 45+ mph.
Nicer weather expected Saturday with some sun and highs in the 40’s. Winds look much lighter as well.
Another storm moves through Sunday afternoon/evening. 3-6 inches of snow is possible on the mountain by Monday morning. Mountaintop winds gusting to 60+ mph during the day on Sunday which could affect some upper mountain lifts.
California / Lake Tahoe
Light snow is possible over Donner Pass Friday into Friday night, but snow levels may be just above pass level. Be prepared for possible chain controls limited to the top few miles of Donner Pass just in case.
Sunday into Sunday night a stronger storm moves in. It could drop a foot or more of snow over Donner Pass. Snow levels look to be around 7,000 feet most of the day on Sunday then dropping very low Sunday night. Expect chain controls Sunday from Soda Springs – Exit 174 to Donner Lake – Exit 180. Then dropping Sunday night to at least Crystal Springs through Truckee.