Have you ever found yourself stuck in a rut? Doing essentially the same things day after day, week after week, not really sure why but with little motivation to change…

Yes, this happens to all of us from time-to-time, and oddly enough, it happens to the atmosphere as well. The details of how and why the atmosphere gets into a rut aren’t really important, but the results can lead to the best powder days of the season.

For the next week (or two or three), the atmosphere will remain in a pattern that favors big snow across the northern half of the western U.S and occasional snow (mixed with warmer temperatures) over the east. This “rut” is characterized by a general trough in the west, as you can see in the graphic below.

Where's The Snow This Weekend 2.23.12

Looks like a snowy week across the west, where a trough sets up into early March (black lines dipping to the south). Good news for snow lovers.

Let’s see what this means across the country as we head into the third month of the year.

Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains

After a week with multiple feet of snow in Washington and Wyoming, and a record 24-hour total of 34 inches in [R425R, Steamboat], Colo., the good times will continue. While Friday will be relatively quiet, another storm will slam into Washington on Friday night and Saturday morning. With the trough firmly entrenched in the west, this storm will drop south and east and move across Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and northern Colorado on Saturday through Sunday. But that’s not all, as yet another storm will be on its heels during the early part of next week. Utah, Wyoming and Colorado should see more snow Monday evening through Tuesday, and all of these same areas may see a third storm from late Wednesday through Friday. It’ll be a good time to be in the west.

Northeast and Midwest

It’s been an interesting year along the east coast, with periods of colder weather and good snow broken by warming temperatures and liquid precipitation. Unfortunately, this trend should continue through the next week. A storm on Friday will stay mostly frozen in far northern New England, but other areas will see a brief period of warmer weather before the colder air arrives. Still, if all goes according to plan, the upcoming weekend will return to cool weather and pleasant skiing conditions. Following a few dry days to close out February, the next major storm will head east next Wednesday and Thursday. With a storm track through Michigan, knowledgeable weather observers will know that warm air will once again invade the eastern states ahead of the storm, and it won’t be until the storm’s passage that cooler weather will return.

Meteorologist Joel Gratz is the creator of opensnow.com and is based in Boulder, Colo.


Related Photo Gallery: 

Powder Day at Wolf Creek Ski Area

Steamboat Powder Day