We have great news heading into the weekend. According to NOAA’s outlook for the month of February, the central Rockies are going to get awful snowy with storm after storm being accompanied by cold temps and lots of accumulation.

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The snow is already falling across Utah and Colorado with many resorts along the I-70 corridor including Vail, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge reporting over two feet of snow in the past 48 hours. There is also significant snow falling in areas of the Northern Rockies including Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Specifically, Sun Valley continues to have a banner season and should continue to benefit from the current jet stream positioning that is projected to stay consistent through the rest of the month of February. Expect storms to roll through over the next two weeks with much more for the areas listed below.

Projected Snowfall Winners For February 2021

Official 30-Day Forecast – February, 2021 [NOAA]

February Snow Forecast | Ski Resort 2021 February Forecast

30-Day Outlook Discussion [NOAA]

Major revisions were needed to the updated February temperature outlook, due to higher forecast confidence in a colder pattern for the Continental United States (CONUS). The large coverage with enhanced probabilities of below-normal temperatures is due to a high amplitude longwave pattern favorable for anomalous cold during early to mid-February. The week-2 ensemble means remain consistent and in excellent agreement, depicting a high amplitude 500-hPa ridge extending from the North Pacific poleward over Alaska with a full-latitude trough centered over the Rockies. This amplified longwave pattern favors intrusions of Arctic Air shifting south from Canada into the western and north-central CONUS. The largest probabilities (more than 60 percent) of below normal temperatures are forecast from the Northern Great Plains to the Upper Mississippi Valley where anomalous cold is most likely to persist for multiple weeks. MJO composites would favor an expansion of the anomalous cold to the east, but equal chances (EC) of below, near, or above-normal temperatures are forecast for much of the East Coast since temperatures are likely to average near to slightly above normal during the first ten days of the month. Due to large positive
temperature anomalies early in the month, above-normal temperatures are slightly favored for northern New England. Increased probabilities of above-normal temperatures are forecast for parts of the Southeast based on model guidance from weeks 2 through 4. Despite anomalous cold early in the month, EC is forecast for much of the Southwest due to signs of a moderation in temperatures later in the month, typical influences from La Niña, and decadal trends. The updated February temperature outlook for the CONUS is generally consistent with a combined La Niña and negative Arctic Oscillation composite. 

Above normal precipitation remains favored for a majority of the central and eastern CONUS which is likely to be downstream of an amplified 500-hPa trough axis through at least mid-February. Probabilities of above-normal precipitation are increased from the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys east to the mid-Atlantic due to the expectation of a thermal gradient and persistent storm track. A relatively dry (less than 0.25 inch) first week of February and mean 500-hPa ridging through much of the month elevate probabilities of below-normal precipitation for Florida along with parts of the Gulf Coast. This wet/dry dipole from the Ohio Valley to Florida is consistent with La Niña, but high latitude blocking may shift the storm track at times closer to the Gulf Coast. A consistent wet signal among daily CFS model runs supports an increased chance of above-normal precipitation from the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi Valley west to the Northern and Central Rockies. Expected periods of upslope flow elevate probabilities of above-normal precipitation for the Northern High Plains. The updated precipitation outlook is drier for the Pacific Northwest due to the highly amplified ridge upstream and the absence of predicted atmospheric river activity after the beginning of the month. Below normal precipitation remains favored for California along with parts of the Southwest and Rio Grande Valley based on a consistent dry signal among model guidance at multiple time scales during February.  

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