Snow dusts western mountain peaks as summer nears its official end

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First Snow of the Season Rockies


Snow has dusted the mountain peaks of the West in several states this week in the final days of summer. The official start of fall is Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort in California's Sierra Nevada said that Monday's dusting was the first of the season there. Farther north in the Sierra, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows Ski Resort said they received their first flakes of the season Wednesday.

Sierra Nevada ski resorts in California are hoping that El Nino will help boost snowpack this winter season. The snowpack last winter in the Sierra was the lowest in 500 years, according to a recent study.

(MORE: Rare September Deluge in Los Angeles)

Snowbasin Resort in Utah and Aspen Snowmass in Colorado also indicated that this week's snow was the first of the season. Photos provided to weather.com by Jeremy Swanson from Aspen Snowmass show a brilliant contrast between vivid fall foliage and snow dusting the peaks in the area.

(MORE: Fall Foliage Maps)

Other areas that have seen snow in the West this week include Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming, which saw a dusting of snow Wednesday, and the Crater Lake area of southern Oregon. The National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon, said that1-2 inches of snow had fallen at Crater Lake as of late Wednesday.

Snow is not unusual in the higher elevations of the West during September. In fact, it snowed in the northern Rockies in August this year.

The snow this week in the West is the result of a pattern change that took place, with a jet stream dip moving south over the region, allowing cooler temperatures to take hold. Embedded in that jet stream dip are disturbances aloft that have just enough moisture to work with to produce snow in the higher elevations and rain in the valleys.

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Deepest Snow in All 50 States

Photos of the dramatic summer weather that has plagued the country:

4 PHOTOS
Weird summer weather throughout U.S.
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Snow dusts western mountain peaks as summer nears its official end
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NV - AUGUST 03: The ruins of the Hannig Ice Cream Parlor are shown in the ghost town of St. Thomas on August 3, 2015 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. The town was founded in 1865 by Mormon pioneers at the site where the Muddy River flowed into the Colorado River and at one point had about 500 settlers. The town was abandoned in 1938 after the construction of the Hoover Dam caused the Colorado River to rise. The area was once submerged in 60 feet of water but became entirely exposed to the air as a severe drought in the Western United States over the last 15 years has caused Lake Mead to drop to historic low levels. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 30: A severe thunderstorm passes over the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, July 30, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 17: People enjoy a hot afternoon at the Astoria Pool in the borough of Queens on August 17, 2015 in New York City. The main pool, the biggest in New York City and administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, sees over 3,000 people on a typical summer weekday. New York city is in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures in the high nineties and with a heat factor making it feel over 100 degrees. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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