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SnoCast: Active and Wintry Presidents' Day Weekend

ParkCity A couple of fresh inches at Park City early Thursday with more snow on the way as an active pattern develops across the Western U.S. (ParkCity/Twitter)

A busy weather setup from coast to coast with an active pattern taking shape for the upcoming Presidents' Day weekend. Here’s the latest forecast scoop in this week’s SnoCast.

East

A potent storm system will sweep across the Eastern U.S. Thursday to Friday bringing all modes of weather—from severe storms in the mid-south, wintry mix and ice for the lower Great Lakes, and of course (the best part) snow for parts of the Midwest to Quebec and New England. As usual, my focus is on the snow for ski country, so here’s where it looks good.

The center of this storm will shift from Ohio, up to central New York, then over to Maine from Thursday afternoon through early Friday. This is important because this is also the general dividing line for cold air (to the north) and warmer air (to the south).

 

Initially, most of the northeast and ski country is on the warm side of the storm with wet weather Thursday, but thankfully colder air returns from west to east Thursday night to Friday. Snow develops gradually from west to east, overspreading northern New York, southern Quebec, and northern New England through Friday. Totals will vary greatly given the mixed precipitation type, with a quick 1-4” for the states, but heavier amounts for southern Quebec with 15-30 cm (6-12”)...great news for Quebec ski areas like Saint-Sauveur, Bromont, Tremblant, and Mont Blanc.

 

Another quick moving Alberta Clipper sweeps through the Upper Midwest to Northeast Saturday, providing a quick 1-4” for ski areas. Then watch for yet another storm Tuesday-Wednesday coming in from the southwest, which means another storm where the rain/snow line presses into ski country.

West

The southern Rockies and southwest just got a solid drop of snow over the last 2 days with new snow from a few inches from the mountains of southern California to nearly a foot in Utah and Colorado. This is welcomed snow for the southwest and Four Corners!

 

Weather will remain fairly quiet through Saturday, but a new storm system presses in for the West for the Presidents’ Day weekend. Snow develops over the Washington Cascades, Canadian and US northern Rockies Sunday, and then gradually moves southward to the Intermountain West by Presidents’ Day (Monday) through Tuesday. Snow even sneaks as far south as southern California and Arizona with this upcoming deep diving storm.

While a bit early to lock in exact totals, this generally looks like a healthy covering of new snow for the holiday weekend. My early forecast estimates are a general 3-7” for many mountains in the West, with potentially 6-12” for the Washington and Oregon Cascades, Canadian Rockies, Idaho Bitterroots, western Montana peaks, and highest Colorado Rockies. If the storm sweeps deep through the southwest as it currently looks to do, locally higher amounts of a foot or more could fall for those favored southern facing ranges, like the Uintas in Utah and San Juans in southern Colorado. Keep an eye on it, and enjoy the holiday weekend snow.

Looking Ahead

The general pattern through next week features a split from West to East. The Western U.S. and Midwest will see a much colder and active turn with likely several storms systems. In the East, a generally warmer pattern is likely through next weekend, with more "mixed" bag storms featuring rain, mix, and snow with storms that pass through. 

This is the type of pattern you need to check weather daily if you are planning a trip to the slopes. We recommend weather.gov for a daily check, and of course check in here every Thursday for a new SnoCast to get an early heads up for what to expect. Happy skiing and riding, friends!

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