The Grasshopper – The Latest Snow Forecast

The Grasshopper – The Latest Snow Forecast

Weekly Japanese Forecast – Rain today and a dusting tomorrow, before the Monster From The South takes hold


Valid Thursday 23rd January to Thursday 30th January


An unusual Japanuary is about to end in an unusual way. After some rain on Honshu today, and a couple of dustings and top-ups during the following days, a monster low pressure system brewing in the East China Sea will take hold of the country next week in what will be a protracted event. Central Honshu will cop the brunt and we are likely to see rain down low, but snow totals may be large on mid-upper slopes, especially on the Pacific Side.


Central Honshu

A low scooting over southern Japan will bring… dare I say it… rain today. Some of it will fall as snow above 1500m at times, but temps will be horribly mild. Luckily a cold front flying in from the NW Friday afternoon will do a 5-15cm repair job, leaving us great conditions for a partially sunny Saturday.


From here on things get interesting, and models are having a hard time figuring out what’s going on. Basically, low pressure brews in the East China Sea and eventually skirts past on the Pacific Side through the middle of next week.


Snow levels will fluctuate between base levels and 1500m, and winds will predominately be from the East-South quarter making precipitation heavier on the Pacific Side. Monday may stay precip free, but we’ll have light-moderate falls Sunday and Tuesday, becoming heavy during Wednesday and Thursday at the time snow levels will be at their highest. Snow accumulations may be large on mid-upper slopes, especially on the Pacific Side, but significantly less on rain affected lower slopes.


Hokkaido & Northern Honshu

Mostly sunny skies today, but there will be light-moderate snow & rain in southern parts of Northern Honshu. A cold front on Friday will bring decent snowfalls into Saturday, totaling mostly in the 15-20cm range. Another pulse of cold air will bring a nice dusting late Sunday into early Monday, before the Monster From The South takes a hold of Japan and Hokkaido clocks up sunshine hours, while Northern Honshu sees a mix of rain and snow Wednesday and good ol snow next Thursday.


ECMWF snapshot from midday Wednesday (a long way off in model time). The Monster From The South will take hold of Japan next week with potentially heavy rain and snow. Source:


Have a great week guys & gals, see you next Thursday!

Friday 4 October – Nice today and Saturday, windy Sunday, then 5cm of white gold


Synoptic Outlook

Here we are guys and gals, the last forecast of the season. Resorts will shut up shop this weekend, except Perisher will keep the dream alive for another week. The snow depth chart at Spencer’s Creek is taking its usual rapid dive, after what has been a great season marked by one big dump per month.

Today and tomorrow will be the nicest days left of the official season, even though a weak front will throw up a bit of cloud.

Hairdryer NW winds will go absolutely nuts on Sunday, as a low coming hot off Western Australia barges over Tassie, with severe gales likely.

After a bit of wet stuff later on Monday, cold W-SW winds on the backside of the low will surge over the Aussie Alps turning water to white gold. Snow showers should continue into Tuesday and we could see accumulations around the 5cm mark; time to head backcountry I reckon.


Image of The Day


Not bad today and Saturday but windy on Sunday as a low barges over Tassie. Cold W-SW winds on the backside of the low will drop around 5cm Monday night and Tuesday. Source: NZ Metservice (vandalised by the Grasshopper)


Friday 4 October

A fine start, but it’ll cloud over Victoria later this morning and NSW this afternoon as westerly winds change SW. A spot of rain or drizzle tonight.


Saturday 5 October

A bit of cloud at the start and end of the day, with sunshine in between. SW winds die away, then a light northerly develops. Another spot of drizzle at night.


Sunday 6 October

Warm hairdryer NW winds will go nuts, reaching severe gale in exposed spots, although it’ll be fine with some high cloud.


Monday 7 October

Becoming cloudy with patchy drizzle. Turning to rain in the evening with snow gradually lowering to base levels overnight as strong NW winds turn to a cold westerly.


Extended Outlook

After snow showers peter out on Tuesday, cold southerlies will die away on Wednesday.

Easterlies are likely to develop on Thursday and persist through next weekend, while a low spins up in the Tasman Sea. During this time, we should see a fair amount of cloud and possibly some rain and drizzle.

That’s all from the Grasshopper this season folks. Keep and eye out for my forecasts for North America and Japan, starting mid December. If you have a question or feedback for me, hit me up on facebook.

Friday 27 September – A mild, windy weekend, followed by a wintry, snowy few days



Synoptic Outlook

The strong, chilly SW flow over New Zealand will pump another 10-20cm of snow onto Ruapehu today, where reports say 24-47cm has already fallen in recent days. This of course comes with blizzard conditions, but  will add another nice layer to the 1-3m deep snowpack.

Mild NW winds will blow a gale over the South Island this weekend, sending a scattering of rain over from the Main Divide, while a low system approaches from the Tasman Sea.

After the low passes over centre of NZ during the early hours of Monday, another surge of cold air from the SW will spread snow up the country. There is a fair amount of uncertainty regarding how much snow will fall – if the winds are tilted more to the south we’ll get a lot, more to the west and Canterbury may miss out.


Image of The Day


More southwesterlies today, and another 10-20cm more snow for Ruapehu. Source: NZ Metservice (vandalised by the Grasshopper)


Friday 27 September

A cloudy start for the Southern Lakes, but cloud will pop out more and more through the day, as chilly SW winds turn to the west.

Canterbury will be nice and sheltered again with mostly clear skies. Light SW winds turn to the west.

Snowing throughout the day on Ruapehu. Gale SW winds with blizzard conditions will gradually abate somewhat.


Saturday 28 September

Gale NW winds over the South Island will blow high cloud over Canterbury and scattered showers over the Southern Lakes, where snow levels will lift above 1700m.

Fairly cloudy up Ruapehu with a possible rain/snow shower or two. Westerly winds, strong at first.


Sunday 29 September

Strong to gale NW winds continue to blow scattered rain over the South Island, but it should clear up over the Southern Lakes for most of the afternoon.

Rain and drizzle at times on Ruapehu as NW winds strengthen.


Monday 30 September

Snow falling over the Southern Lakes, most likely spreading to Canterbury during the afternoon as gale northwesterlies turn to the SW.

A rainy ol day up Ruapehu, with heavy falls and W-NW gales. Snow levels lowering to about 1700m at times


Extended Outlook

Strong, cold and snowy southwesterlies continue to blow over the country during Tuesday and Wednesday. The Southern Lakes and Ruapehu will do well, but sheltering in Canterbury will see little snow falling there.

A high in the Tasman will make its presence felt during Thursday and next Friday, but doesn’t actually make landfall before the next storm hits next weekend.

That’s all from me for the New Zealand Season; it’s been awesome. Some ski fields have already shut up shop, while others will keep cranking till mid-late October. I’ll keep the Aussie forecasts going through the first week of October, then look out for Japan and North America forecasts from December. Join my weekly email list by filling in the box below. If you have a question or feedback for me, hit me up on facebook.



Weekly North America Forecast – Tonnes of snow for the northwest, and consistent in the Rockies


Valid Thursday 23rd January to Thursday 30th January


It’ll be a relatively quiet week in the Sierras, while storms in the northern Pacific will pile a tonne of snow onto the Coast Mountains & Cascades, fronts sweeping inland will bring consistent light-moderate snowfalls to the Rockies.

Canadian Coast Mountains & the Cascades

The Gulf of Alaska remains a seething mass of low pressure, that will see several fronts sweeping over these mountain ranges. Mild southerly winds will predominate, feeding moisture in from the Pacific. There won’t be many moments that it doesn’t actually snow, although freezing levels will be an issue.


The heaviest snowfall is likely to be today (Thursday) into early Friday, but it’ll be raining on lower slopes and possibly up on mid mountain too. From Saturday onwards, snow levels should then drop to or below about 1000m as each front brings a period of heavy falls, with lighter falls smooshed in between. Snow accumulations could reach 150-175cm on upper slopes, but much less lower down.


Sierra Nevada

It’ll be a relatively quiet week in the Sierras in terms of snowfall as all the action is happening to the north. A front will clip the northern half Thursday night, but snow levels will be up around 2500m and we’ll see a bit of rain come down.


Another more vigorous front will sweep the length of the ranges this weekend, lowering snow levels and bringing 15-25cm of snow to the northern half and 5-10cm farther south.


Another front will bring a light dusting to the northern Sierras during Tuesday, although there is a possibility this could be something bigger depending on which model you look at.


The Rockies

A couple of fronts sweeping inland from the Pacific northwest will see snow falling down through the Rockies as far south as the Elk and Sawatch mountains in central Colorado today and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday), but accumulations will be greater the farther north you look.


Another front will gather steam and bring a more even spread of snowfall to the length and breadth of the Rockies, including New Mexico, during Sunday and Monday. Snowfalls will mostly be light to moderate.


More snow is on the cards Wednesday and next Thursday, with the northern tier again likely to cop the bulk of it.




ECMWF model 10-day snow accumulations.. Source:



That’s all this week guys, see you next Thursday.

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