The Cold Before the Really Cold

Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 8:38 am


Very weak system moving thru today into tonight with a just a few light snow showers and cold air.  A break and warm-up this weekend.  Another storm arrives to start next week with VERY cold air.  More storms possible beyond that.


A very weak system is pushing trough the region today.  So far, the only resort I’ve seen report any accumulations is Powder Mountain with 2″, which is great because today is their opening day!   Yesterday the forecast was pretty meager, just 1-4″.  Based on the radar returns this morning, even that may be optimistic.  I think most regions will only be reporting an inch or two.  Maybe one or two resorts could get 3-4″.

A break in the action this weekend with mostly sunny skies and warming temperatures.  A good time for resorts to do the necessary safety work to get more terrain open.

The big story right now is that we are going to get a very cold trough into the region to start next week.  Some of the coldest air we’ve seen in quite awhile.  Snow will accompany this system, but when storms like this have overland trajectories and are this cold, usually they are moisture-starved.  This one is no exception.  We should see snow develop Sunday night or Monday morning with the passage of the cold front.  Right now it looks like 4-8″ with 6-12″ for favored locations.  Then, we could get a few additional snow showers Tuesday and Wednesday.  However, temperatures will be the big story.  Mountains will see high temps likely in the single digits and even the lower valleys will likely top out in the 20s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Important to note that the above forecast is preliminary and will likely need to be fine-tuned as we get closer.  Models and their ensembles are still all over the place:


Probably a little overdone.  But 0.5-1.0″ of liquid seems reasonable.  With high snow ratios, that could pile up quickly.

Long range:

It looks like we’ll have continued chances for storms.  The pattern is going to become more zonal, which means storms will come in off the Pacific rather than out of the arctic.  This means they won’t be as frigid and could hopefully have more moisture to work with.  The GFS, and to an extent the ECMWF (Euro), have hinted that we could have a good storm possibility next weekend… around December 10th.  That’s at the tail end of the operational model runs, so a lot can change.  But it’s something to watch…


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