More snow possible this weekend as La Nina won’t show her face | AspenTimes.com
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More snow possible this weekend as La Nina won’t show her face

Jeremy Heiman

The weekend forecast brings hope that skiers will be able to put away their rock skis before too long.

After generous snow in early and mid-November, only a few flurries since have freshened up the slopes of Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. But a change in the jet stream may mean that more substantial snow will resume this weekend or early next week, weather analysts say.

A high-pressure system that’s been parked over the West Coast is expected to loosen its grip in the next few days, said Michael Meyers, science operations officer for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. With low-pressure air moving in, the western United States should begin to receive a bit of snow again.

Chad Gimmestad, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boulder, said a jet stream with cold temperatures and snow roaring into the eastern and central United States in recent weeks will be shifting. By next week, the jet stream will be coming from Alaska down through the western states, Gimmestad said.

“We’re not sure where the focus will be, but this one looks like it will be through the intermountain West,” he said. “So it looks like it’s going to be more active, starting this weekend.”

The snow that came in November was brought by the jet stream before it moved east, Gimmestad said. He remarked that it’s not unusual for skiing conditions to be pretty tenuous at this time of year.

Because the world’s weather is not currently influenced by either La Nia or El Nio, the long-range winter forecast is harder to pin down than in the last few years, Meyers said. But on the Western Slope, we can look for more consistent snow and lower temperatures than Aspen saw in the previous two winters, which were governed by a La Nia weather pattern.

La Nia is characterized by drier-than-normal conditions in the American East Coast and wet winters in the Pacific Northwest. But La Nia and its opposite pattern, El Nio, haven’t established a pattern in the Rockies.

Aspen Mountain opened for the season Nov. 18, nearly a week early, and has maintained a base of around 20 inches on top since that time, though the snow has gotten a bit threadbare in some areas.


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