The Barlometer

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 04/27/16

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 04/27/16

Once the focus has shifted to the plains, we often see cyclonic wrap-around moisture & orographically-induced precipitation under northerly flow. This phase has the ability to “fill in the gaps” over the northern zones, those often missed during phase 1 and 2. I’m still unsure how efficient snowfall will be for this phase....

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/06/16

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/06/16

Pre-frontal southwest flow & isentropic lift appears more-impressive with this system vs. post-frontal cyclonic wraparound flow. Storm totals will likely be deepest into the S & SE San Juans, with also nice some accumulations into the Sawatch & Elks. Though, there is a bit of a problem… A good portion of tonight's precipitation will be "wasted" (or has already been) due to a relatively high rain/snow line. Locations above 10,000' will be fine, but rain/mixed or sloppy snow will not stack up efficiently. The result will be unimpressive totals for valley & mid-mountain areas....

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 02/29/16

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 02/29/16

The obvious feature appears in the March 7/8 time frame (where I paused the loop), in the form of a longwave trough across the west & closed UL low pressure south of Colorado. This is great, yes, but things may not necessarily play out exactly like that. We need to be careful with specific storm features this far into the forecast period. What has my attention is the propagation of waves from west to east. More specifically – the vanishing of the Hudson Bay low and Pacific high pressure migrating well east of the Rockies....

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 02/20/16

Central & Southern Rockies Snow Forecast – 02/20/16

At the larger synoptic scale, jet streak dynamics will come into play. A 140+kt NW→SE oriented jet will propagate south into the Rockies, putting Colorado under the favored left-exit-region of the jet. This support will aid in divergence aloft, combining forces with orographics & frontal forcing at the mountain-scale. Storm duration is relatively short-lived this time around, but these (3) factors will line-up for a brief period Monday into Tuesday, for an efficient period of precipitation....

Central & Southern Rockies Ridge Forecast – 02/12/16

Central & Southern Rockies Ridge Forecast – 02/12/16

Colder air in the mid & upper levels will efficiently destabilize the atmosphere (steepen the lapse rate) & get precipitation going, but only marginally. The air just isn’t that cold. As a result, only the highest elevations will find themselves within the favored snowfall-production zone (dendritic growth zone), while snowfall at lower elevations will be less efficient. Furthermore, this storm feature is progressive. The window of opportunity is relatively short for snowfall accumulations before high pressure builds in from the west....

Alan Smith

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast 03/28/2016

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast 03/28/2016

A fairly active pattern with cooler temperatures will continue through this week – the final lift-served week for some areas, such as Jackson Hole and Bridger Bowl. A trough of low pressure has reached the inter-mountain west, and has split into two low pressure centers. The northern low across the Idaho Panhandle was located in a good spot to bring good snowfall to Big Sky and Bridger Bowl last night, where 8” and 10” of new snow, respectively, were reported this morning....

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/21/16

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/21/16

The pattern is turning more active again as we head into the new week, with multiple shots of snow on the way. Great news! None of these systems look as impressive as what we saw last week, and models have actually backed off some on snow potential this week compared to a couple of days ago, but overall this week is still looking pretty good – colder than average with snow most days through the end of the week. We’ll take it! ...

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/12/16

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/12/16

Snow will reach central Idaho tonight, favoring the Sawtooths with the heaviest snowfall overnight, with 6-10” likely by Sunday morning. Snowfall will continue throughout the day Sunday, with some of the heavier totals around Brundage occurring after the morning snow report. Sunday will be a storm-skiing day in the Tetons as well, with new snow increasing throughout the day – it's looking like a pretty awesome afternoon in particular to hit the slopes at Jackson Hole or Grand Targhee....

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/10/16

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/10/16

We’ve seen a few shots of snow to freshen up the slopes this week, with mild weather returning to finish out the week. However, changes are on the way as the best looking storm system in quite some time approaches this weekend, bringing a solid period of snowfall from Sunday through Tuesday (and perhaps Wednesday as well). Colder air will also be arriving with this system, resulting in a period of below average temperatures next week – something we also haven’t experienced in quite a while....

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/06/16

Northern Rockies Snow Forecast – 03/06/16

The pattern remains unsettled this week, favoring northern areas, although warm air will continue to limit snowfall to higher elevations. Low pressure off the Pacific coast will continue to drive moisture into the northwestern U.S. from southwest to northeast, while ridging develops across portions of the Central Rockies, which will keep the deepest moisture confined to northern areas. The pattern does look to turn a bit more favorable overall in the 7-10 day timeframe, although I mention this with caution as the models have struggled with consistency in this timeframe recently. ...