All of the action will come at the beginning of the next seven days. A strong storm that brought feet of snow to British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest will slowly move east and south and coat the Rockies with double-digit totals through the end of this week. Snow will fall heavily in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming on Thursday into Friday morning, then Utah, Colorado, and Arizona will get in on the action from Friday through Saturday morning. Totals should be over a foot in most areas, with potentially a foot and a half in parts of Montana, Utah and southern Colorado.
Behind this storm, very cold air will cover all of the rocky mountain states, and this cold air will be here to stay for at least a few days. While the downside is of course the requirement for more hot chocolate, hand warmers and frequent breaks, the good news is that this cold air will preserve the quality of the snow that just fell, so take the good with the not as good.
The weather will stay quiet for most of next week, but then longer range models are showing a trend toward a more active, west-to-east flow of weather starting around January 21 (or so). Of course 10+ days forecasts are rarely correct in the details, but often they can get the trend of the weather correct, so lets hope that this snowier storm track does materialize and returns the region to a pattern that produces snow every few days. That would be the icing on the cake for many areas that already have a deep base, like Jackson Hole, Wyo. and Steamboat, Colo.
Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.