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West Snowpack Update: Good North, Bad South

5 Dec 2017, 2:05 pm

It’s as simple as taking a north-south look.

The snowpack across the West is great the further north you go so far this winter season, but it’s meager the further down you move in the Rockies. And in between, the snowpack is pretty mediocre.

Hit by a series of strong storms from late October and into November, the Pacific Northwest and the Bitterroot Mountains are generally seeing snowpack levels around or above seasonal averages. Idaho and Wyoming’s mountains, however, are in the best shape, with most ranges here running well over 100 percent of typical seasonal levels.

But the further south you go, the grimmer the snow scene becomes. The snowpack levels through the central and southern Rockies are well below normal in most locations, with many spots looking at less than half of their typical season-to-date snow, according to official figures from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The same weather pattern that’s brought the heavier snow throughout the northern Rockies and the Cascades has left the Four Corners states (Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) mostly short on snow and full of warmth. Utah and Colorado’s northern mountains are close to average, but it’s the two states’ southern ranges that are struggling considerably, with most spots looking at less than half of average snowpack.

The same pattern that’s locked most of the snow into the West’s northern mountains looks to hold steady through the upcoming week and weekend and into next week, with a dominating ridge of high pressure steering the majority of precipitation into Canada. Below, you can see the bright colors, showing the jet stream, moving north and keeping the west mostly dry for the next few days.

Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on this throughout the winter.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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