Brett Anderson

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Coastal Mountains Keep Getting Pounded with Snow

December 03, 2012; 4:14 PM

The Coastal Mountains of western B.C. continue to get hammered with heavy snow as one storm after another impacts the region while snow levels remain low enough for ski resorts like Whistler/Blackcomb to reap the bounty.

A total of 143 cm (56 inches) of snow has accumulated over the past week at Whistler/Blackcomb, while the seasonal total is already up to 316 cm or 10.3 feet! By the way, these snow totals are measured more than halfway up the mountain at the 5,400-foot level.

Another in a series of storms will impact the Coastal Mountains later tonight through Tuesday night with the potential for another 30-60 cm (1 to 2 feet). Snow levels could briefly get as high as 3,800 feet midday Tuesday before lowering again.

At the same time, heavy rain and strong SSW winds will impact parts of Vancouver Island through Wednesday. The southwest slopes could get another 100-200 mm by Wednesday.

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Other thoughts........

--Pattern may be setting up for a possible significant storm running up toward the Great Lakes early next week with possible blizzard conditions well north and west of the center track. Right now, parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and western/northwestern Ontario seem favored for the heavier snow. Will know more of course in the next few days as we get an idea if the two jet streams come together to form a major storm.

--Potential blocking pattern setting up starting around the 12th from far northern Canada into Greenland, which would potentially send much colder air into the eastern half of Canada after the 15th or so.

Keep in mind, modeling has been quite inconsistent over the past couple of weeks so I am not totally buying into that as of yet. Also, there is still no signs from actual observed data (not modeling) of any incoming stratospheric warming between 60 and 90 degrees north, which normally leads to a more sustained blocking pattern about 15-20 days after the initial start of that warming. I will watch this closely through the season.

Blocking patterns in the far north force cold air much farther south and do not allow it to escape. Arctic air can charge south with potential coastal snowstorms when the Arctic Oscillation and the North American Oscillation go into their negative phases as shown by the latest CPC ensemble forecasts below. The solid black horizontal line in the middle of both graphs signifies neutral, below that line is negative and above the line is positive.

The negative AO

The negative NAO

Images courtesy of the North Carolina State university.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Brett Anderson
Brett Anderson covers both short-term and long-term weather and storm forecasts for Canada in this blog for AccuWeather.com.