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SnoCast: Big Snow For the West and Midwest

Vail_2-tw_120721 Four inches of fresh snow at Vail Resort earlier this week, and much more in the forecast as a major winter storm targets the Rockies (Vail/Twitter)

After an unusually warm start to the ski season from coast to coast, the forecast features a blast of cold and snow that we snow-lovers have been waiting for. From California to Wisconsin, heavy snow is in this week's SnoCast forecast. 



A large trough of colder air will dig into the West Thursday through Friday, delivering new snow to nearly all of the western mountains. The heaviest snow is expected from California to the mid and southern Rockies, including Colorado and Utah, where at least 6-12" of snow will fall. As much as 1-3 feet will develop in the higher Rockies in Utah and Colorado through Friday. With limited snow thus far this season, the avalanche risk is heightened so play it safe and stay inbounds.

The Pacific Northwest also gains heavy snow as a persistent onshore flow from the Pacific and strong jet stream deliver steady snow Thursday right through the weekend. Beginning lighter, the snow will really ramp up Saturday for the Washington and Oregon Cascades with 1-3 feet of snow  through the end of the week. Occasional lighter bursts of snow continue through mid next week. 

The jet stream will take another dive southward early next week, leading to another heavy snow event for the southwest and Rockies. Look for a steady, prolonged snow event for California and the Southwest Sunday through Wednesday (Dec. 12-15). California's Sierra Nevada may be in for a major snow event, measuring multiple feet of snow. The storm ejects into the middle Rockies by Wednesday-Thursday, potentially delivering another healthy dose of snow to Utah and Colorado.

Midwest/Great Lakes

The same storm from the Rockies will eventually lift into the Great Lakes, delivering snow to our Midwest ski areas Friday through early Saturday (Dec. 10-11). A band of heavy snowfall, generally 4-8", with locally up to a foot of snow, will fall from northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, to middle Wisconsin, into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 


We've just come off of some light new snow earlier this week, delivering flakes from New England and as far south as West Virginia, including at Snowshoe Resort.


For the rest of the week, skiing will feel more like spring conditions than December as much warmer temps return. A large ridge of warm air will crest over the East through the end of this week, with temperatures running as much as 10-20 degrees above average from the southern Appalachians to Maine. 

 Thankfully, it's not ALL bad news. A cold front will move through the East on Saturday, bringing rain and the chance for thunderstorms for many to start the weekend, and the chance of lift interruptions. However, relatively colder air follows Sunday and Monday, allowing for overnight snow making in the northeast.


 The cool down is short lived, though, as more warmth returns for the majority of next week. Hey, at least we won't need a bunch of layers, right?!

The pattern looks to take a colder turn closer to Christmas week.


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