JACKSON, Wyo. – If you’re wishing for fresh powder for Christmas this year, then you are in luck. An extended stretch of active weather will begin on Wednesday and will continue through the end of the year with new snow falling nearly every day.
The culprit will be a persistent trough of low pressure that sets up over the West Coast, placing Jackson Hole and Northwest Wyoming under a consistent southwest flow with numerous impulses arriving in succession. The result will be impressive snow totals adding up over time.
Check out the projected snowfall totals from now through Sunday morning from a blend of weather models:
The storms in this pattern will be starting out warm with high density (i.e. wet) snowfall, but as a colder airmass takes hold, the storms will trend colder and more powdery with lower density snowfall.
Tuesday may very well be our last snow-free day of 2021 before the action begins on Wednesday.
The first storm in this pattern will spread light to moderate snow across Teton County from Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday night, followed by heavy snow on Thursday and Thursday night as the strongest part of the storm arrives.
The National Weather Service in Riverton has issued Winter Storm Watch for Thursday morning through Friday morning that covers all of Teton County as well as Star Valley, Yellowstone, the Wind River Range, and the Upper Green River Basin including Pinedale.
Snow will accumulate on the valley floor on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but valley temperatures will warm up into the upper 30s on Thursday afternoon, resulting in some melting along with non-accumulating snow possibly mixed with rain at times.
A cold front will then arrive on Thursday evening, at which point temperatures will gradually start to trend downward again.
Snowfall totals from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning will range from 7-15 inches in the Tetons and 2-6 inches in the Jackson Hole Valley.
The next storm system will quickly follow with snow continuing to fall from Friday morning through Saturday night (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Temperatures will be trending colder during this period as well.
High impact travel conditions are likely throughout Western Wyoming from Thursday morning through Christmas Day on Saturday, and caution is advised. In addition to heavy snowfall rates at times, gusty winds will result in areas of blowing snow, and icy spots could also develop on the roads as warmer temperatures on Thursday are replaced by colder temperatures on Thursday and Friday.
The snowy pattern is likely to continue from Sunday through the middle of next week with temperatures continuing to trend colder. This will be a great pattern for skiing with new snow falling each day along with dry/powdery snow quality.
Around New Year’s, long-range weather models are hinting at the possibility of an arctic blast arriving from the north, which could potentially lead to drier conditions along with bitterly cold temperatures.
Alan Smith, Meteorologist