JACKSON, Wyo. — Last week’s storm cycle was impressive, but for the higher elevations of the Teton Range, the upcoming storm cycle late this week might be even better.
A strong jet stream will line up in a favorable manner to allow Pacific moisture and energy to slam into the Tetons from the northwest from Thursday night through Sunday, with deep totals measured in feet expected to add up.
We just experienced our first good storm of the week from Tuesday night through Wednesday night with snow totals of up to 18 inches in the Tetons and 3-5 inches in the valley. This was just an appetizer for what’s to come as a parade of stronger storms is now approaching from the northwest.
Last week’s series of storms approached from the southwest, which favored heavy snowfall in the Jackson Hole Valley as well as the Teton Mountains.
A storm track from the northwest will favor a sharper drop-off in totals from the higher elevations into the valley due to the Tetons “intercepting” most of the moisture, but the valley will still see good snow totals as well since the jet stream will help to overcome the “rain shadow” effect of the Tetons.
Grand Targhee will also be more favored in this northwest flow pattern and should see some of the deepest totals, unlike last week’s southwest flow which was less favorable for that side of the Tetons.
Temperatures across the higher elevations will be quite cold throughout this event, and as a result, the snow that falls will be especially dry and powdery, even by Teton standards, with snow density averaging around 6%.
The first storm will arrive on Thursday night, and the National Weather Service in Riverton has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of Teton County from 11 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday.
Snow totals from Thursday night through Saturday morning will range from 12-24 inches (1-2 feet) in the Tetons and 3-8 inches in the Jackson Hole Valley.
The second storm slated to arrive this weekend continues to trend much stronger as well. Look for snow to pick back up during the day on Saturday and continue throughout Sunday with new snow totals from Saturday morning through Monday morning ranging from 10-20 inches in the Tetons and 3-6 inches in the valley.
Four-day snow totals from Thursday night through Monday morning will range from 22-44 inches in the Tetons and 6-14 inches in the valley. And that’s in addition to what just fell on Wednesday.
Skiers and snowboarders are going to enjoy multiple powder days late this week and over the weekend. As far as travel conditions go, Friday morning, Friday evening, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning look like the roughest times to drive over Teton Pass.
Winds are going to become gusty starting on Friday and even more so on Saturday and Sunday, and this will result in areas of blowing snow in the valleys and open areas as well.
Alan Smith, Meteorologist