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SnoCast: Tricks and Treats in the Forecast

steamboat A friendly jack-o-lantern at Steamboat welcomes new snow (Steamboat/Twitter)

It was an active week with an atmospheric river event in the West and a fall nor'easter in the East. Flipping the calendar from October to November, find out who will get forecast tricks or treats.


An atmospheric river, or basically a firehose of moisture from the Pacific, delivered heavy snow totals to the Western peaks this past week. Ski areas from California's Lake Tahoe southward across the Sierras found themselves digging out from 1 to 3 feet of heavy, cement-like snow. Northstar and Heavenly were among those happy to share their recent good fortune on social media. Palisades Tahoe even announced opening date for this Friday.


snow on Vista Express signage at Northstar in Calfornia

Looking ahead, a cold front will sag southward from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies through Friday, squeezing out a quick  2-5" of snow for the mountain peaks of the Washington Cascades, northern Idaho, and Montana. Localized higher totals will occur in the northernmost Cascades, say around Mt. Baker in Washington. This front sags south farther to the central Rockies delivering light snow to Wyoming and Colorado's peaks by Sunday to Monday--a little forecast treat for the Halloween weekend.



The pattern in the East has teased us as a potent nor'easter swirled off the New England coast mid-week. Now, if only it had been cold enough during the storm, we'd be measuring snow in the feet (instead of rain in the inches). But, at least brief windows of cold overnights have allowed for a few flakes and testing of snow machines in the East, including at Stowe and Sunday River where the "first flakes" vibes were flowing this past week.

First flakes of the season at Sunday River in Maine on October 25

Snow and frost on a sign at Stowe in Vermont

The forecast in the East for the Halloween weekend features more tricks in the East as another wet and warm storm spins through the region. By next week's SnoCast, however, we'll head toward a colder pattern and likely see more treats in the form of colder air and snowflakes becoming more likely after Wednesday.  

The 6-10 day outlook, which covers through November 2 through 6, features a colder than average pattern in the Great Lakes and East, while seasonably mild air persists across the southwest. Elsewhere, a fluctuating jet stream means we'll see near average conditions due to frequent fall-like swings from mild to cool. 

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