Updated – 12/21/20
Ho, ho, ho, the holidays are in sight and we’re very excited to be looking at a 7-day forecast with some decent potential for snowfall. Over the past weekend, storms flooded the Western US under a northwest flow that brought cold temps and moisture to the majority of the Great Basin. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, California, and the PNW all saw snow and although the storm will take a break on Monday, it should return on Tuesday, delivering significant snowfall to the Inter-mountain West before leaving us with blue skies for the majority of the west by Christmas Day.
2020 Christmas Winter Weather Outlook
Who will get the most snow this Christmas?
The Western US:
One more wet day is in store for the Pacific Northwest today, as Pacific moisture continues streaming in. Given wet antecedent conditions, the additional rain could lead to isolated minor river flooding, ponding on roadways, and the possibility for landslides. Then by this evening, a strengthening low pressure system is forecast to track near the
northwestern U.S./southwestern Canadian border and sweep a cold front across the Northwest states. This will lower snow levels and then spread precipitation farther east as the front moves through the Great Basin and Rockies by Tuesday. Precipitation in the form of snow is expected in the Great Basin and Rockies, with some mixing of rain in lower elevations of the Northern High Plains. Snow totals should be highest in higher elevations, with snowfalls of 6 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts across the Northern Rockies, Sawtooth Mountains/Bitterroots, and Wind River Mountains/Tetons. Then this system will spread light precipitation into parts of the central U.S. late Tuesday into Wednesday. – NOAA (12/21/20)
8-14 Day Temperature Outlook
8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook
Colorado: Northern Mountains Get The Goods
A northwestern flow will bring cold temps and significant precipitation to the northern mountains of Colorado including Steamboat Resort and perhaps, Winter Park Resort. The western mountains, as well as the central mountains of Colorado, remain a tossup while most models have the southwest being left with sunny skies through the holiday.
Snow will end over NW CO this morning, with a mostly sunny afternoon across E UT and W CO this first day of winter. pic.twitter.com/k9ZJFi6R65
— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) December 21, 2020
Utah: Moderate Snowfall For The Wasatch
Snowfalls will be limited to the single digits for portions of the Wasatch Front including Alta and Snowbird. Orographics favor the Salt Lake side but Park City should squeeze out a couple inches on Tuesday evening.
The storm track will continue to favor the Northwest early this week, while parts of the East will see snow right around Christmas. https://t.co/gPKIeoLxxi
— OpenSnow (@findOpenSnow) December 21, 2020
California: Mostly Sunny, Chance of Precip on Tuesday
Most of California will remain under a ridge of high pressure this week, meaning mostly sunny skies with the exception of a slight chance of snow for the mountains of North Lake Tahoe on Tuesday.
Sunny & mild today but ridgetop winds increasing from the southwest this afternoon. Possibly gusting to 50+ mph and increasing to 80+ mph Monday night.https://t.co/ye0SRihODf pic.twitter.com/1ZELMbhYml
— Tahoe Weather (@TahoeWeather) December 21, 2020
Northern Rockies: Toss up
In Idaho, Sun Valley and Schweitzer have both been benefitting greatly under the current Northwest Flow and while the jet stream is projected to bring moisture north of Hailey and Ketchum this week, Schweitzer will get hammered today and tomorrow. Further west, Montana will also continue to get snowfall today and tomorrow at Whitefish Mountain Resort and Big Sky Resort. In Wyoming, Jackson Hole will see significant accumulations on Tuesday before sunny skies take over through Friday.
Snow showers will continue in the west; tapering off in the afternoon. Otherwise, expect mild weather with breezy to windy conditions in the favored locations. All areas will have a chance of snow Tuesday and Tuesday night. #wywx pic.twitter.com/WWpFuamnQc
— NWS Riverton (@NWSRiverton) December 21, 2020
Pacific Northwest: Snow on Christmas?
Looking for snow on Christmas day? Your best chance will be in the Pacific Northwest, where snow is projected to fall today and tomorrow before returning mid-day on Christmas to places like Oregon’s Mt Bachelor.
A cold front will move through late tomorrow and bring down snow levels sharply overnight. 6 to 8 inches of snow is forecast for the Cascades from Crater Lake northward. Your forecast: https://t.co/ijizR7HW1H #orwx #cawx pic.twitter.com/eVS8f5pQUp
— NWS Medford (@NWSMedford) December 21, 2020
New Mexico: Sunny and Warm
New Mexico will remain mostly in the sun this week with a brief disturbance on Wednesday that could bring a trace of new snow to the slopes of Taos Ski Valley. That said, temperatures should remain cold and thanks to early season snowfall, things are already filling in nicely.
A day of tranquil weather is in store today with sunny skies and above average temperatures. A change is coming however, as a potent cold front descends into New Mexico Wednesday. #NMwx pic.twitter.com/k2ajKAP6dz
— NWS Albuquerque (@NWSAlbuquerque) December 21, 2020
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