- Sunny & mild for Monday with highs in the 60s. Southwest winds gusting up to 25 mph in the afternoon. - Tuesday we have increasing clouds and winds with mountain top gusts to 50 mph from the SW. We could some light rain/snow showers move in by Tuesday evening and overnight. Snow levels dropping to around 6000-7000 feet. We could see a coating of snow on the mountains with the best chance to see an inch or two on the east side of the lake. - Wednesday most of the showers shift to our south. It will be cold with highs in the 30s on the mountains and 40s at lake level. Northeast winds gusting up to 50 mph on the mountains. - Thursday into the weekend we have the sun returning. Highs in the 40s on the mountains to near 50 at lake level. Lighter winds expected. Overnight lows in the 20s. - Next week we could see another shot of colder air Monday. The pattern looks dry the first half of the week. The 2nd half of the week we could see a couple of weak systems bring some light snow.
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Short Term Forecast
Now that we are only 36 hours out we are getting a better idea of what to expect from the system moving through Tuesday evening into Wednesday. Much better model agreement this morning on where and how much precipitation we could see.
Tuesday Night - Wednesday Storm:
The area of low pressure moves south through CA Tuesday and sets up to our south by Tuesday evening, with a band of precipitation forming on the north side of the rotation Tuesday night into Wednesday. The question has been where does that band of precipitation sit and how much precipitation could fall with it. We could also see some orographic enhancement on the east side of the mountains with the northeast winds.
Yesterday, some models had up to an inch of total precipitation near the south side of the lake, while others like the NAM model had much lighter amounts. The NAM seems to be the model the others have been trending towards the last 24 hours. Here is the latest total precipitation forecast through Wednesday on the NAM.
It is showing light precipitation moving in by Tuesday evening with snow levels starting around 8k. Then light showers Tuesday night with most of the shower activity shifting to the south of the lake Wednesday. Snow levels fall close to lake level Tuesday night but with the very light precipitation could hang just above.
The Canadian and GFS models show a similar forecast this morning.
The GFS seems to do the best job of showing more precipitation on the east side of the lake. Overall the models are showing a tenth of an inch or less of total precipitation north/northwest of the lake, which lines up with the computer-generated forecasts on the right sidebar for the ski resorts in that area like Squaw only getting 0-1 inches of snow on the mountain.
South of the lake, the models seem to agree on 1-3 tenths which lines up with the forecast for 1-3 inches for places like Sierra and Kirwood. Where the models usually struggle is with showing enhanced precipitation amounts from the orographic lift. But our computer-generated forecasts for Heavenly & Mt. Rose seem to be picking up on it with forecasts of around 3-5 inches of snow. That may be a little overdone, we will have to watch as this all sets up Tuesday night.
I will normally go into a more detailed forecast for each ski resort with my own calculations to compare to the computer-generated forecasts, but most ski resorts aren't open yet and Squaw is only expecting a coating of snow. The interesting mountain to watch Wednesday morning will be Mt. Rose if the band of snow sets up far enough north to bring them some measurable snowfall.
Here is a look at the 10:1 ratio snowfall forecast based on the GFS precipitation forecast above. Again, it's not picking up on the lift for the east side of the lake. But it is correct in showing the best chance for several inches of snow will be to the south near Mammoth mountain.
High pressure builds back in over the West Coast Thursday into the weekend, centered to our north. There is also a cut-off low that drops under the high and is sitting off the CA coast but will not affect our weather.
We should see sunny skies and lighter winds Thursday through Sunday. Highs in the 40s on the mountains and near 50 at lake level by Saturday. Overnight lows in the 20s and weaker inversions so snowmaking conditions should be much better on the mountains!
High pressure over the West Coast is forecast to shift west just off the coast by next Monday. The long-range models are in decent agreement that will allow a trough to dig into the Western U.S. That should bring us another shot of colder air and keep our highs in the mountains in the 40s next week, and continue decent snowmaking at night.
The forecast models are also in decent agreement that the high-pressure ridge off the coast could continue to slowly shift away from the coast next week. That could open the door to a couple of weaker storms to drop into northern CA later in the week.
The European model keeps the systems pretty weak next Wed-Fri. The Canadian and GFS models show the possibility of slightly wetter systems. Something for us to keep an eye on as it could bring some snow for Thanksgiving if the forecast trend continues.
Beyond 10 days the forecast models lose most of their accuracy, but the ensemble mean runs if they agree among the models can help to give us a look at potential patterns 2 weeks out. This morning, they are showing the ridge to continue to sit away from the West Coast with a trough over the West going into the first week of December.
That could keep the storm door open. If that holds, hopefully we can get some stronger storms to move into northern CA in December. The jet stream normally becomes stronger as we go into the winter season which could help with that.
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