February 28th Forecast Graphic
February 26th Forecast Graphic
Hi all, our in-house high resolution model here at japanskitours.com is attempting to capture the impact of the ocean effect snow showers by dropping some some fresh snow with accumulations of 10-15+ cm across the interior mountains of Hokkaido to the east of line from Asahikawa to Furano. Another area of interest is out towards Kiroro, where I am expecting 6-12+ cm of that famous JAPOW. Although the model is not quite picking up on this yet, I do see multiple indicators that a new snow band will soon develop and come onshore leading to several cm of accumulations before the sunrises, which will only add onto the 10-20+ cm reports that came in for the Kiroro region yesterday. Niseko surprised my yesterday with some heavy snow showers hammering the region from 5:30pm-11pm. At only 100m above sea level the observation station in Niseko reported 10mm of liquid precipitation in those 4.5hrs, which should easily have resulted in 8 to 16cm of snow for the city. The surrounding mountains likely received at least 12 to 25cm from this evening burst. Rusutsu was another surprise with the evening burst of snow driven by southerly winds putting down additional snow.
So my adivce is to get out there, hit the slopes early before the rest of the crowd and whether up north in Furano, out west in Kiroro, or south in Rusutsu enjoy the powder day!
February 25th Forecast Graphic
February 24th Forecast Graphic
I hope you all are enjoying the new snow that has fallen across Hokkaido. Currently, the winds are quite gusty across the eastern coast north of the city of Hokkaido, with the coastal city of Rumoi reporting sustained winds of over 50km/hr. These winds are likely even stronger in the mountains around Asahikawa and Furano, which may result in some issues with lifts being open. In addition to the winds there are ongoing snow squalls moving in from the east which will further cause issues with visibility. A weak low pressure system to our north will help to enhance these snow showers to an extent allowing them to continue on and off across the eastern portions of Hokkaido for the next several days with accumulation likely. The last of the snow should end sometime Sunday as a high pressure system moves in, bringing clearing skies. Looking ahead the next system appears to be in place to impact Hokkaido starting around the 1st of March, currently it is too early to make accurate predictions, but it does appear that this system may have more warm air to work with. If the warmer situation materializes it is quite possible that lower elevations may see an extended period of rain with higher elevations seeing a rain/snow mix.
A Quick Note: The Forecast Graphic only accounts for snow accumulations up to 10pm tonight. The majority of the snow will fall after 7/8pm tonight. Whereas the New Snow Accumulation map accounts for new snow accumulations until noon tomorrow. Winds Will be very strong late tonight and into tomorrow, especially on the west side of Hokkaido. Lifts may shut down at times in the Furano Region tomorrow.
Forecasting a Messy Mix of Rain, Snow, and Wind Slamming Hakuba. Is Hokkaido Next?
It was quite a rollercoaster yesterday (2/22/17) in the Hakuba Region and is getting very messy now that the clock has struck midnight. In fact the reporting station in Hakuba, which is situated at roughly the same elevation as many of the bases (700m above sea level), has reported a very wet almost slushy 5cm of new snow in the past hour, with more expected overnight. The rollercoaster ride began this morning with a chilly morning low of -13.3C before rocketing up by an incredible 17.9 degrees by early afternoon, when at 1pm the high temperature reached 4.6C. To put this into perspective for those who use the imperial system, it equates to a morning low of 8F and an afternoon high of 40F (32 degree increase). While the rollercoaster ride of temperatures was sure to cause some issues with snow conditions at low and middle elevations the real story just started developing in the late evening hours of the 22nd as a low pressure system has rapidly strengthened bringing very heavy precipitation. This should be good news for the slopes, right? In this case in might not be, I am quite concerned about the quality of snow and the possibility of a rain/snow mix which might degrade the current snow pack.