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Short Range Forecast Discussion - Updated for Thursday, October 30, 2014 - Today looks mostly sunny and milder as high pressure holds. We are expecting a significant winter type storm to move in this weekend, and it looks like a fairly strong one with significant snowfall potential at the resorts, especially above 9,000 feet, though in Aspen we are expecting appreciable snowfall in town as well. This system moves through the area with pretty good dynamics and moisture, but some limitations, and favoring west and southwest slopes mainly Saturday night and Sunday. The storm clears out after lingering and decreased snow showers on Monday, then mostly sunny skies are expected under building high pressure Tuesday. (please see the longer range forecasts toward the bottom of this page) CM
Do you want to keep track of the US and southwest Canada snowpack? Check here >.
7 day to 2 week+ forecast (since 1998) - 04 to 14 November, 2014 - Heavy snowfall potential for Tahoe-Mammoth is still expected late Friday through Saturday night, and heavy snow for the cascades and southwest Canada Thursday and Friday, then significant snowfall is delivered to the Wasatch and Central Rocky Mountains including Colorado this Saturday through Monday, but mainly Saturday/ Sunday. We expect some showers for Southern California resort regions late Friday/ Saturday, with high elevation snow (above 8,000 feet or so). High pressure dominates most of the western US for 5 - 7 days afterward (roughly November 4th - 8th), with mostly sunny and mostly dry conditions Tahoe to Colorado. Storms should become more frequent with less sunny weather overall (seasonal) as we move further into November, especially after the 10th. CM
Longer Range Outlook
As of now, October 2014, we are still on a path to see an El Nino Sea Surface Temperature pattern hold across the Equatorial Eastern Pacific. Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies yield a weak El Nino pattern across the eastern Equatorial Pacific (El Nino development is on track, but it will be weak at least to start, still favorable for California and the desert Southwest, plus much of Colorado and northern New Mexico). Please note; Many computer models indicate the El Nino SST pattern may become moderate strength later this fall and early 2015, with would help focus more of the Gulf of Alaska storm action across the southwest US and California, where its desperately needed.
A weak El Nino is now being predicted for this fall and winter, into early 2015. It looks like the early season (October/ November) will see more rain and snow for southern and central California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. This should help kick off the early season for places like Mammoth Mountain. This should also help build up a better than average base of snow for Aspen-Snowmass and Taos Ski Valley. Temperatures are expected to be near and below average for these areas as well, which helps. Maybe Thanksgiving will be pretty good for many more areas across the southwest, and even for Squaw Valley in Tahoe. The Northwest US is expecting a drier and milder than usual fall, with less snowfall than average, though with their usual heavy snowfall, especially in the Cascades, this drier/ milder than average fall season could still be good for resorts across the northwest US, mainly along the Cascades, less so inland.
The larger time-scale SST pattern in place right now is still a cool phase PDO, or negative PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation). This is a more long term pattern (decades), and it has made any recent years El Nino SST patterns weaker (it looks like this is the case with the current El Nino, which was expected to be strong initially.
To summarize, the possibility of an El Nino pattern this fall and winter are "likely". Forecasts from other agencies are calling for El Nino conditions to hold this fall and winter. This would favor the southwest US (including southern California and across to Taos Ski Valley, even Aspen, Colorado) for heavier rain and snow this fall and mainly winter (2014-2015), after the wet monsoon summer across the southwest US (we forecast this in the spring). Northwest US areas, and southwest Canada, along with northern Colorado through Wyoming and the northern Rocky Mountains, should expect a drier than average, or near average snowfall winter (2014-2015). Tahoe/ Mammoth should see near average snowfall
Deep in the San Juans, Durango Mountain Resort's trademark benched, rolling terrain creates a winter playground for any level of skier and snowboarder. With 1200 acres, 85 trails and 2000+ vertical, Purgatory Mountain boasts steep shots on the front side, tree shots on teh back side, intermediate terrain in the middle and the dedicated Columbine learning area for first timers.