Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June Snow? It's Coming This Weekend

Brian Donegan
Published: June 6,2017

The second weekend of June could feature some snow in the higher elevations of the mountain West as an unseasonably cold air mass infiltrates the northwestern United States.
The cold air will build in beneath a dip in the jet stream, or upper-level trough, that will develop this weekend as a result of a weather pattern flip.
(MORE: Weather Pattern Flip on the Horizon)
A low-pressure system is expected to develop in the Gulf of Alaska and slide into the Northwest during the weekend, bringing periods of rain to much of the region and snow to some of the higher elevations.

Saturday's Weather Pattern
Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees colder than average at times this weekend, which means it may be cold enough for slushy accumulations of snow in portions of the Cascades and northern Rockies, especially at night. Valley locations will struggle to reach the mid-50s for highs Saturday and Sunday.
(MAPS: Weekly Planner)
Snow levels are forecast to fall to about 5,500 feet by Sunday. Mountain passes are not expected to be impacted.
Several inches of snow are possible across the higher elevations of the Washington and Oregon Cascades, as well as high mountain locations in Idaho, western Montana, western Wyoming and northeast Utah. The best chance of 6-plus inches of snow will be in the Cascades.

Snowfall Forecast Through Sunday
The biggest impacts from the weekend snow will be felt by outdoor enthusiasts, especially campers, given the stark contrast in temperatures. Sunday will be about 40 degrees cooler than Thursday in parts of the northern Rockies, so if you have plans to camp over the weekend, be prepared for cool and wet weather.

How Rare is This?

It's not all that uncommon to see snow in the higher elevations of the mountain West this time of year. In fact, it can also occur in valley locations.
Kalispell, Montana, averages 0.3 inches of snow in June, based on data from 1981-2010. As much as 5.5 inches were measured in June 1995.
Great Falls, Montana, also averages 0.3 inches in June, but it saw 11.1 inches of snow back in June 1950.
Just last year, snow accumulated in the northern Rockies as late as July. Snow was reported in parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho at elevations as low as 6,500 feet.

(MORE: Winter Rudely Interrupts Summer in the Northern Rockies)

MORE: Montana, Wyoming Snow – July 27, 2015

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