SnoCast: Atmospheric River Out West; Nor'easter Possible Next Week

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As we roll into the second weekend of March, there is much to talk about in the weather department. An active weather pattern will bring a series of storms from coast to coast which, for some, will result in very heavy snow in the mountains (great for skiing), but also other (not so fun) impacts such as travel disruptions, flooding, and high winds. 

Before we dive into the forecast, don't forget that with this kind of pattern, it's important to check forecast more often. Because the way one storm behaves might impact the track or intensity of the next, so there's more room for things to change farther out in time. 

With that, let's dig into the forecast, highlighting great ski and ride conditions from March 9-15, 2023.

 

West

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Western U.S. is once again in position for a deluge of Pacific moisture that will bring long-duration mountain snow and low-elevation heavy rain. An atmospheric river setup (or a long, steady firehose of tropically-charged moisture) will target the Western U.S., with a bullseye on California starting Thursday and lasting into next week. 

The steady stream of moisture will yet again deliver feet upon feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada in California, with lower, but still impressive totals spreading across the Northwest U.S. and the central and northern Rockies.

In California, unlike some other storms this winter, snow levels will be rather high (see tweet from NWSSacramento), with rain/snow line sneaking up to  ~8000' for a period of time. This means really heavy rain down low (which will lead to flood problems) and weigh down existing snowpack. Particularly in California, high winds, plus this much snow will impact travel to the slopes, and no doubt interrupt operations for some due to safety concerns. Be sure to check in with your favorite mountain before hitting the road.

Not to be overshadowed by the impacts in California will be significant snow through the weekend for the central and northern Rockies. Many ski areas will pick up 6-12" of fresh snow, with locally 1-2 feet for the higher and southwest-facing slopes of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and southern Oregon.  

 Take a look at the forecast snowfall through Sunday, March 12.  

Beyond Sunday, the pattern remains active with a series of storms yet to come. A brief respite late Sunday will give way to a new storm Monday, which delivers moderate to heavy snow up and down the Pacific state mountains before shifting east to the Rockies by Tuesday.

Yet another storm waits in the wings for Wednesday-Thursday next week, targeting California and the central Rockies. 

East

Plenty to talk about in the Eastern U.S. and Canada, too. A storm will trek across the lower Great Lakes and shift off the Eastern coastline through Friday (March 10). This will leave behind a swath of snow from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. Expect a widespread 2-5" of snow for many of our Midwest and interior Northeast ski areas before the weekend, locally higher totals for Wisconsin ski areas. This storm will be a near miss for New England.

Here's the Eastern U.S. snow forecast through Sunday, March 12 from the National Weather Service. 

Early next week looks intriguing with potential for a nor'easter Monday-Tuesday. While there is still plenty of time for things to change, there is potential for this to be a significant snow (and wind) storm for parts of New England and the interior Northeast, with rain and travel disruptions closers to the major cities. Exact location of the low and amount of cold air will determine how much snow falls and where. Definitely something to keep monitoring!

Here's the "suite of computer models" (ensembles) indicating low pressure location--the farther the spread, the less certainty there is for now. 

 Keep up with the latest forecast information around the U.S. from the National Weather Service, or I'll also tweet information about these upcoming storms, too, @KerrinJeromin on Twitter

 

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SnoCast: More Snow Follows Intense Coast to Coast Storm

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Following an epic coast to coast storm that dropped new snow from California to Maine, there's more snow ahead for ski country!

The weather pattern is very active, meaning there will be less lead time and a lot of changes the farther out you go in time due to complex interactions in the atmosphere. One thing is for sure, ski season will be strong for many parts of the country to finish February (and likely into March). 

Here's the forecast breakdown for February 23-30, 2023.

 

 

 

West

Let's start out West this week where a large atmospheric trough continues to bring stormy and cold weather...and it's not stopping anytime soon, skiers and riders. As of Thursday, lingering snow continues across the interior West from the most recent storm that dumped feet of snow. Check out some of the photos from the last few days. 

Meanwhile a new storm system is digging down the Pacific coastline.

This new system will bring renewed heavier snow and high winds to California by Friday and Saturday. And it's not just the Sierras this time! Snow will dig deep reaching to southern California with very low snow levels expected. Blizzard warnings are in effect Friday for the San Gabriels with potential for 2-5+ FEET of snow (locally more!) above 4,000' (yeah! insane!). Deep snow is expected for Mountain High, Bear, Snow Valley, and others in SoCal, not to mention big totals upwards of 2-5 feet northward to the Sierras from China Peak and Mammoth northward to the Tahoe area.

It should be noted, this is *significant* for the southern California peaks, historic even. Make sure if you plan to travel, you have appropriate gear and transportation to do so, and monitor pass closures.

This storm pivots toward the U.S. Southwest by Sunday, delivering new snow to Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Colorado ski areas especially.

Another prolonged period of snow develops across the entire west again Monday through Wednesday of next week as a cold pattern sticks around out west. Just keep the skis handy. 

East

Thursday ad Thursday night, snow continues to fall for Midwest ski areas eastward through southern Ontario, to northern New York's Adirondacks and northern New England. While not quite as much fell as predicted, we still picked up beneficial snow on the slopes with this most recent round.  

Scattered lighter snow showers redevelop for the northern Great Lakes to northern New England later Saturday in an otherwise fairly quiet weekend for the Northeast. Here's the snow forecast for the northeast from midday Thursday through early Sunday, February 26 from the National Weather Service. 

The next storm system for the East presses northward into the Great Lakes by later Monday and Tuesday, bringing a mixed bag to the Midwest (Monday) with milder air pushing into the area. However, in New England, with colder air in place, snow is likely to develop again for parts of upstate New York and New England by Tuesday. While early to pinpoint totals, it appears ski season is being saved (albeit a bit late in the season) here across the far Northeast and New England. 

 

Looking Ahead

The general pattern remains similar through mid and end of next week, with a large trough out West, keeping conditions colder and stormier than average. There is a good chance March will come in like a lion for the Western U.S. 

For the East, we continue to ride a border zone as warm, spring-like air tries to push northward. This will mean periodically milder pushes for the Midwest, solidly warm for the southeast, but still enough cold air in the Northeast that we will hang on to our existing snow, and potentially see more when storms come through. Here's the temperature and precipitation outlook from February 28 through March 4, 2023 from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

 

 

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SnoCast: A Mixed-Bag Of Snow As March Closes Out

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The calendar says spring, but the weather says “here’s a little of everything!”. In true spring fashion, we’ll see ups and downs in temps, while precipitation type keeps us on the toe of our ski boots. Here’s what to expect in this week’s SnoCast.  

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SnoCast: New Snow from Coast to Coast

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This week brought more wild swings in the weather country-wide. The West has benefited greatly with building snow cover, and the East eyes the next weekend wintry wallop. Here’s the forecast in this week’s SnoCast.

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The Remote Work Revolution is Transforming, and Unsettling, Resort Areas Like Lake Tahoe

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For years, Ben Jarso couldn’t mix work and play. He worked at Facebook in Silicon Valley and on weekends drove almost four hours to Lake Tahoe to hit the ski slopes. When pandemic-related restrictions freed him to work remotely, he decided to merge his passions.

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SnoCast: Bursts of Snow to Kick-Off March

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March came in like a lamb, and will stay “lamb-y” with a few small storm systems to track and a typical hint at Spring-like warmth. Read the details in this week’s SnoCast.

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80” (or More) of Snow Forecast in California This Week

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The Sierra Nevada Mountains in California are about to make up for a dry, fire-inducing stretch of weather in a hurry with anywhere from 3 to 7 feet or more of snow forecast to fall this week. 

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Tahoe Resorts Let Skiers And Riders What To Expect This Season

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Like all U.S. resorts, the list of COVID-related changes at Tahoe-area mountains reads familiar: Cashless transactions, masking up, self-grouping for lifts, state regulating size of gatherings, more weekday season pass options, rental shop spacing, group lesson capping,  gearing up in the parking lot, and grab 'n' go food.

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Squaw-Alpine Meadows Gondola Connect Getting Closer

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Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have been linked by ownership for a while, but soon they may be connected by a gondola.

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USFS Backs Mt. Rose Ski Resort Expansion, Bridge Over Highway 431

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The U.S. Forest Service has tentatively approved a plan for Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe to build two chairlifts and a snow bridge across Highway 431 to access 11 new trails proposed farther down the resort located between Incline Village and Reno.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Busy February Pattern Brings More Snow

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A stormy pattern continues into February with several quick moving storms dropping hits of snow. Here are the storm systems to watch this week.

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How Best To Handle Traffic, Parking In Busy Mountain Towns

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In a world of ride-share, buses, shuttles and Uber, plenty of skiers and riders still pack up the car and head the the hills the old-fashioned way.

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