Unseasonably warm and dry weather pattern for Jackson Hole

JACKSON, Wyo. – We’re only a couple of days away from December, but it does not look or feel like winter in Jackson Hole as record warmth has taken hold across the region.

Temperatures in the Town of Jackson reached the mid-50s on both Sunday and Monday afternoons, which is record territory for this time of year and about 20º F above average.

The JKNW4 weather station in Downtown Jackson recorded a high temperature of 55 on Sunday afternoon and the official climate station reported a high of 52, which was a record for the date – tying the old record of 52 set in 1931.

The Jackson Hole Airport recorded a high of 53 on Sunday, which is also a record for the date, though records at the airport only go back to 2009.

So far, temperatures in the Jackson Hole Valley are running 5-7ºF above average for the month of November as a whole, and this will likely end up being in the top five warmest Novembers of all time for the area.

Snowfall has also been below average this month, which in combination with the unseasonable warmth, has made it a challenge for ski season to get going.

Jackson Hole’s upper mountain has received 45 inches of snow in November, which is below the average November snowfall of 58.5 inches. The Town of Jackson has only received 0.7 inches of snow in November compared to an average of 11.5 inches.

The amount of snow currently on the ground (snow depth) is another story. Settled snow depth at Jackson Hole’s upper mountain is only 66% of average as of November 29 and snow depth at mid-mountain is only 36% of average.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee both opened for the season last week, but it took substantial snowmaking efforts for this to be possible and recent warmth has made for challenging early season conditions.

As we head into the last few days of November and the first few days of December, a ridge of high pressure will remain parked over the Western U.S. with warm and dry conditions expected to continue.

A weak cold front will cool temperatures off slightly on Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the mid-40s in the valley instead of the mid-50s – still above average, but well below record territory. Average high temperatures for this time of year are in the low to mid-30s.

Unseasonable warmth will then return on Thursday with highs getting back into the 50s in the valley and challenging record highs.

A slight cool-down will occur over the weekend as a couple of minor disturbances pass north of the area. It’s possible we could see some light snow or rain showers reach the area over the weekend, but the odds of precipitation are fairly low at this time as the main storm track will be located too far north.

The next chance of meaningful snow is expected in about a week from now, around Monday, December 6. Colder temperatures are also likely to arrive around this time.

Whether or not this storm proves to be a one-off event or the beginning of a more favorable pattern for snowfall remains to be seen, but there are at least some signs in the long-range that snow potential will improve heading into mid-December.

The good news for skiers is that it’s still very early in the season and December is Jackson’s snowiest month on average. In other words, if we get a couple of big storms or get into a pattern of consistent snowfall, early season conditions could rapidly improve. Time to start doing your snow dances!

Note: Daily forecasts will resume on Thursday, December 1.

Alan Smith, Meteorologist

About The Author

Buckrail Meteorologist Alan Smith

Alan is a professional meteorologist who holds a degree from MSU Denver and writes weather forecasts for Buckrail. He has worked in the private sector of weather forecasting since 2013 and has lived in Jackson since 2015. Alan specializes in mountain weather and forecasts for ski areas across North America.

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