JACKSON, Wyo. – Even though we are nearing the end of March, winter will just not give up this year. A multi-day storm cycle is impacting the Tetons this week with significant snow expected from Wednesday through Sunday along with well below-average temperatures for this late in the year.

Winter conditions remain present in the mountains and the valleys

We experienced a brief thaw in the valleys last week with rain and above-freezing temperatures, which was enough to create a mess in town as temperatures dropped significantly behind the wet system, resulting in icy conditions and refrozen slush on the sidewalks and alleys.

Weak high pressure resulted in our first extended dry and sunny spell in quite some time last weekend. Temperatures remained colder than average, but the sun is much stronger at this time of year, which made for a nice weekend to hit the slopes and soak in some vitamin D.

Winter conditions have returned this week with 7-9 inches of snow falling in the Tetons on Monday and Tuesday while the Jackson Hole Valley picked up 3-5 inches. Snow has been falling all day on Wednesday as well as yet another long-duration storm cycle is getting underway.

So far in March, the Rendezvous Bowl Plot at Jackson Hole’s upper mountain has received 79 inches of snow, which is above the long-term monthly average of 64 inches. The Town of Jackson has received 19.4 inches of snow so far in March, which is well above its long-term average of 7.7 inches.

March has been very cold as well with temperatures running 9.7ºF below average in the Town of Jackson so far.

The outlook for the rest of the month is for more snow and continued below average temperatures. By the time we finish March, there is a decent chance we could end up in the top five for both the coldest March’s on record and the snowiest March’s on record.

Snowpack Update

Mountain snowpack remains healthy across the area and is currently 113% of average across the Upper Snake River Basin.

Snowpack for the state of Wyoming as a whole is above average, which is great news from a water supply and drought perspective as we head into the spring.

Long-duration storm cycle to continue from Wednesday to Sunday

A series of storms will impact Teton County during the second half of this week. The first storm arrived from the south on Wednesday and has been producing snow all day, both in the mountains and the valley.

Snow will continue through Wednesday night, then will become more orographic (terrain-enhanced) in nature on Thursday with snow favoring the higher elevations of the Tetons, while the valley will see lighter and more intermittent snow showers.

On Friday, snow will become more widespread as another storm tracks across the area with lingering snow showers expected through Friday night. Another storm will pass to our south over the weekend with enough moisture reaching the area for snow showers to continue on both Saturday and Sunday.

Cold air will remain locked into place during this pattern, and in fact, we will be trending colder over time. High temperatures will reach the 30s in the valley on Wednesday and Thursday, but will only be in the 20s from Friday through Sunday. For perspective, the average high in Jackson on March 22 is 46ºF.

Five-day snow totals from Wednesday through Sunday will range from 15-30 inches in the Tetons above 8,000 feet, resulting in outstanding late-season skiing conditions.

The Jackson Hole Valley will receive a total of 4-10 inches from Wednesday through Sunday (isolated higher totals possible north of the airport and west of the Snake River), but keep in mind that melting will also occur down low during the afternoon hours given the time of year.

Travel has been difficult over the pass and across the valleys in recent weeks, and that trend is going to continue during this cycle with a mix of snowpacked, slushy and icy roads expected, while valley roads will see good melting during the afternoon hours.

Once this storm cycle ends, we should see a break in the pattern on Monday, but another storm is possible after that next Tuesday-Wednesday (March 28-29). This storm isn’t a sure thing yet as models have been struggling to get a handle on the storm track, but as of this writing, snow potential has been trending higher for this timeframe.

Temperatures will gradually moderate next week after an unseasonably cold weekend, but will still remain below average for late March.

Extended Outlook

As we finish out March and head into early April, spring will continue to be elusive. An active pattern is expected to persist across the Western U.S., resulting in more snow chances along with consistent below-average temperatures.

Alan Smith, Meteorologist

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Buckrail Meteorologist Alan Smith

Alan is a professional meteorologist who holds a degree from MSU Denver and writes weather forecasts for Buckrail. He has lived in Jackson full-time since 2015. He is currently a Meteorologist and Operations Manager for OpenSnow, which is a weather forecasting service for skiing and outdoor adventures. At OpenSnow, Alan writes forecasts for the Tetons, Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and North America as a whole.