POWDER OUTLOOK 2012/13
Powderchasers can always help you find deep snow and this year will be no exception as pattern changes may be a welcome for most resorts that saw slim pickings for deep days last season, especially in the central Rockies. The waters over the equatorial Pacific are showing signs of warming bringing clues to a shift from a moderate La Niña from last season to a neutral El Niño this year that may gain more strength towards the latter part of the upcoming winter. El Niño is currently taking it’s foot hold on the southwest where monsoon moisture has deluged many areas of AZ, NM, and southern Colorado.
While everyone gets hyped up on the buzz of La Niña and El Niño, the reality is that many winters have brought deep snow to areas where not expected. The truth is that over 50 years of data have shown no real correlation with deeper snow over the Wasatch of Utah, central Colorado, or the northern and central Sierra where both La Niña and El Niño winters have brought deep seasons. Both can be benefical for getting fluff.
One thing I can say however is that El Niño is forecasted to bring less snow to the Northwest (our predicted winner from last season), and a good chance for moderately higher amounts over southern CA, NM,AZ, and even the mid Atlantic region from Delaware into southern New England. The Sierra and the central Rockies of Colorado and Utah are expected to endure snowfall amounts near normal this season (That is a good thing compared with last year) with slightly less in the far northern Rockies. I might point out that last year with La Niña in full swing areas not expecting the deep like the Southern San Juan’s got hammered in December! Therefore if you have powder anxiety about El Niño anything is possible especially since a weaker El Niño can translate to a broader coverage of storms where strong El Niño/La Nina can isolate specific regions like we saw last season in the Northwest. This seasons predictions include weak El Nino shifting to more moderate by late in the winter. Temperatures are forecasted to be colder in the southern Sierra and Rockies and warmer air can be expected for the Northwest, AK, and upper Midwest. The Mid Atlantic and southern tier States will stay colder and near normal expected for New England.
On nearly every post I mention top chase locations!! While a bit early to speculate and some winters going against this Niña and NIÑO BUZZ or should we say FLUFF, my gamble now would be an early chase toBig Bear, Mammoth, Wolf Creek, Durango,Kirkwood, Brian Head, AZ Snowbowl,southern Wasatch of Utah, and evenSummit County Colorado as storms sweep up from the south. In the Northeast expect decent snowmaking and near to slightly above average snowfall.
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- Powderchaser Steve