The snow season is off and running in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies this year. Over 90 inches of snow has already buried The Teton Range in western Wyoming.
— Jackson Hole (@jhski) November 7, 2017
Area ski resorts like Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee are ready to open as soon as this week.
— UnofficialNetworks (@UnofficialNet) November 7, 2017
Autumn snows have been prolific across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. A look at current snow depth from NOAA’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) shows heavy coverage for mid-November.
Mt. Hood in Oregon has already picked up 140-inches of snow so far this season. Ski areas in the Cascades are open early. Snowy scenes abound.
— Visit Rainier (@visitmtrainier) November 8, 2017
Classic La Nina
The snowy start in the west may be an early symptom of a La Nina-flavored winter. La Nina winters typically produce heavier snows in the northern Rockies and Cascades. The opposite is true in the southern Rockies with drier winters to the south of a La Nina-fueled jet stream pattern.
So what about snowfall in Minnesota this winter? As I wrote in my winter forecast last week, La Nina winters do skew in favor of above average snowfall in Minnesota.
Looking at the maps so far in November, my weather spidey senses are starting to tingle a bit more than usual for snowfall. It appears the cold is will be in place more often this winter. An active jet stream pattern would send a conga line of Clippers our way this year. Throw in the occasional jet stream buckle and Panhandle Hook or Gulf Storm and we may get a couple big snows too.