A multi-day storm cycle will impact Jackson Hole and Western Wyoming from Tuesday through Saturday. The Tetons picked up 5 inches of new snow on Monday night, and by Saturday, weekly snow totals of 2-4 feet are likely above 8,000 feet.
Next week, an extended break in the pattern is expected with high pressure resulting in dry conditions.
Recent Weather and Snowpack Update
After a slow start to the season, our snowpack has improved significantly thanks to an active pattern during the second half of December. Snowpack is currently 102% of average in the Snake River Basin zone, which encompasses the Teton, Gros Ventre, Snake River and Wyoming Ranges.
Snowpack is 110% of average at JHMR’s Rendezvous Bowl Plot (9,580 ft.) and 80% of average at the mid-mountain plot (8,180 ft.), so higher elevation snowpack is in much better shape relative to average compared to low/mid elevations, which were impacted by unseasonable warmth in early December.
The Rendezvous Bowl Plot received 111 inches of snow in December, which is above the long-term average of 89 inches and is the highest December snowfall total since 2016. The Town of Jackson received 26.2 inches of snow in December, which is also above the long-term average of 18.1 inches.
Despite the impressive snowfall, this past December ended up being tied with 2004 for the second warmest December on record in the Town of Jackson. Here is an amazing stat – the Town of Jackson had more 50-degree days (four) in December than below zero days (two).
Forecast for Tuesday – Saturday
A series of powerful storms arriving from the west/northwest will bring heavy snow totals to the Tetons and moderate amounts to the valley. Strong winds are also expected throughout this period, which will result in blowing snow and significant travel impacts.
Light snow lingering on Tuesday morning will give way to mostly dry conditions on Tuesday afternoon with highs in the upper 20s in the valley, but winds will remain brisk.
The next storm will bring heavy snow to the area from Tuesday night through midday Wednesday before tapering off to lighter snow shower on Wednesday afternoon. A lull in the action is then expected on Wednesday night.
Winds will remain strong during this storm with high impact travel conditions expected on Wednesday morning especially, while Wednesday afternoon/evening will see minor improvement.
Snowfall totals from Tuesday morning through Thursday morning will range from 9-17 inches in the Tetons and 2-6 inches in the Jackson Hole Valley.
After a brief break, a strong storm with abundant Pacific moisture will arrive on Thursday. Heavy snow can be expected throughout the day on Thursday and into Thursday night with new snow amounts of 8-15 inches for the Tetons.
A warm front will also arrive with this storm, resulting in a transition from light-density snow to wetter/higher-density snow. This will lead to an upside down snowpack regime, so keep this in mind if you have backcountry plans.
The valley could pick up another 1-3 inches of snow on Thursday morning, then temperatures will rise into the upper 30s on Thursday afternoon with wet/slushy conditions developing. It’s also possible we could see rain mix in with snow in town on Thursday afternoon and evening.
On Friday, we should see a relative lull in the action for most of the day as we’ll be in between storms. The final storm in this pattern will then arrive on Friday night and Saturday morning with another round of moderate to heavy snow.
Temperatures will trend cooler on Friday night and Saturday and the valley could pick up some light accumulations as well.
Extended Range Outlook
Starting on Sunday (January 9), a persistent ridge of high pressure will build over the Western U.S. This will result in a much drier pattern throughout the week of January 9-15 in Jackson Hole with limited snow potential.
We could also see temperature inversions develop in this pattern with colder temperatures in the valley and milder temperatures in the mountains.
Alan Smith, Meteorologist