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SnoCast: Big Snow Targets the Rockies

Sun shines on a chair lift at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado Recent sunny weather will give way to big snow in the Rockies, including at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado. (Araphaoe_Basin/Twitter)

 

A storm system will bring heavy snow to the western mountains, especially the Colorado Rockies this weekend as a cold and stormy pattern persists. On the flip side, the East enjoys mild and spring-like conditions. This week’s SnoCast has the details through St. Patrick’s Day week.

U.S. snowfall forecast map through Sunday, March 14 (NOAA NWS)

Western U.S. & Canada

We let you know about an increasingly active weather pattern for the West in last week’s SnoCast. Well, here we are, tracking multiple storms and big snow for the western peaks from California to the central Rockies.

On Thursday and Friday, periodic snow will continue to fall across Utah, Arizona, and parts of the Colorado Rockies as a storm systems moves in from the west. This same system brought big snow to California earlier in the week and created near whiteout conditions in Arizona Thursday.

Skier gliding through deep powder at Kirkwood Mountain

 

This storm will intensify Friday night into Saturday as it moves into eastern Colorado. This storm track will bring new snow to the central Rockies, with the heaviest totals of 1-3 feet expected in Colorado’s northern Rockies. Mountain peaks outside the “top zones” will pick up around 7-15” in general, making for an epic weekend. Though a word of caution travelers--the storm will dump even heavier snow around the Denver metro and nearby Plains, so getting to the slopes might be a bit rough for anyone traveling in for the weekend. 

Colorado map of storm total snow forecast through Monday indicating 1 to 2 feet widespread in central and northern mountains, with 4-12 elsewhere.

Meanwhile, along the Pacific coast, the next storm churns in later Sunday into Monday, with potential for several inches to near a foot of snow in the Cascades and northern California before churning into the intermountain west, where Utah and Colorado could see even more snow.

Best bets: Arizona SnowbowlWinter Park, Arapahoe Basin, Steamboat, Eldora, Snowy Range, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Brian Head

Eastern U.S. & Canada

In the East, we’ve had a recent taste of spring—a welcomed, brief thaw to shed a layer or two while enjoying the trails. We've been soaking up the sun, while snow holds at the higher, colder mountain peaks.

Sunny skies over the ski trails at Smugglers Notch with skiers enjoying the sun

Seasonably cooler air shifts back in over the weekend with any snow limited to the northern peaks in New England, thanks to upslope flow and a north-northeasterly wind. Otherwise, fairly quiet conditions should make for a fine weekend on the slopes. 

High temperature forecast map in the Northeast on Saturday, March 13 (NOAA NWS)

Map of snowfall forecast through the weekend with little or none except in northern Vermont , New York, and New Hampshire (NOAA NWS)

Mainly dry weather is expected for much of the East into next week. The next chance at a storm system looks to hold off until mid or late next week. Given recent mild weather, it’s likely this would be a “mixed bag” of precipitation types next week. 

Best bets: Smuggler's Notch, Jay Peak, Sugarloaf, Gore Mountain, Boyne Highlands

Looking Ahead

Into St. Patrick's Day week, the outlook shows the East remaining mild and spring-like with higher than average chance of (likely mixed) precipitation. The West remains near or below average for temps while the pattern settles toward a drier trend.

Outlook for March 16 - 20 indicate colder than average for the western mountains and the Deep South, while the East remains mild and likely wetter than average (NOAA Climate Prediction Center)

 

Be sure to check in each week as ski season rolls on. We'll keep an eye on the conditions on the slopes right through spring each week with a new SnoCountry SnoCast.

Check the latest snow conditions on the snow reports page

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