Pacific Storms On A Tear; Be Careful What You Ask For
The latest round of storms off the Pacific Ocean have rivaled any in recent years, so much so that a number of resorts closed temporarily and others had to cut back on skiable terrain.
On Wednesday (Feb. 13), the website for Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington read, “On standby.” I-90 that runs right by the resort on the divide of the Cascade Mountains has been periodically closed – meaning no one can get to the Snoqualmie parking lot.
Snowfall at Snoqualmie was 53 inches in 48 hours, similar to what other Washington resorts are reporting. Crystal Mountain got four feet in two days, forcing patrollers to shut down most of the mountain Tuesday and Wednesday morning because of avalanche danger – even though parking lots were full of hopeful powder hounds.
Mt. Hood Meadows closed down all the upper mountain, but winds have died down so that ski patrol can begin to get more terrain open as the week progresses. Stevens Pass officials have asked that no one go into the backcountry until the snowpack settles. Winds are expected to hamper efforts to open terrain all over the Pacific Northwest.
Farther south in California, the snowfall totals for this series of storms border on the absurd. Forecasting service OpenSnow reports that Mammoth Mountain is expected to get 93 inches(!) in the next 10 days after dealing with 50 inches in the previous five days -- enough already for mountain to announce it would stay open until July 4. Heavenly had 43 inches fall to the slopes in five days, and forecasters expect nearly 60 more inches in the next 10 days.
Around Lake Tahoe, both Sierra-at-Tahoe and Mt. Rose closed for a day to dig out during the last storm cycle. Travelers all over the West should check road conditions as many routes, including interstates, have been closed during these storms.
OpenSnow predicts double-digit snowfall in the next two weeks all over the Sierra, Cascades and northern Rockies.
“There is a LOT of moisture coming, especially on Thursday night,” said OpenSnow's Joel Gratz. “A lot of moisture can mean big snow totals, so there is real potential for actual snow amounts to come in over the forecast."