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Wednesday April 23rd 2014 9:29am MDT

Summary:

Nice weather today.  Sunny with increasing winds Thursday.  A cold system moves in Friday with snow.  Snow showers could linger on the mountains through the weekend.  We return to Spring weather next week.

Details:

A few more inches of snow fell yesterday along the crest.  We ended up with around 4 inches on the deck on Donner Summit.  Squaw and Alpine are reporting a storm total of 7 inches up top and Kirkwood 6 inches.  That is at the high end of the forecast

Not much has changed in the past day regarding the details of the system for Friday.  The forecast models are in agreement that several inches of snow will fall on the mountains.  They are still not in agreement on where the highest amounts will fall.  The snow may begin to fall later Thursday night along the crest, but the heaviest snow across the basin is expected on Friday as the cold front pushes through.  With the snow falling during the day it will limit the impacts at lake level.  Snow showers lingering into Friday night could drop a coating of snow.

The models are showing differences in where the jet streak comes inland Friday enhancing snowfall.  Also where or whether or not the cold front slows and drops higher totals.  You can see the differences in the precip forecasts.  The European model is the furthest South with the bullseye of heaviest precip, South of Mammoth.  The NAM is further North centered near Mammoth.

NAM

The GFS which was showing the system splitting and the heavier precip to our South is now holding it together and has the heaviest precip just Southwest of the lake.

GFS

Total liquid amounts of up to 2 inches are possible where the heaviest precip falls.  With the heaviest precip to our South the models are in agreement that the cold front and post frontal showers could drop 3-6 inches on the mountains on the East side of the lake and 6-9 inches on the West side, with up to a foot along the crest.  Amounts could be higher if the jet streak comes inland further North or if the cold front stall for a while across the basin.  Right now the best chance for higher amounts looks to be Kirkwood and South towards Mammoth.

The Canadian model which showed several inches of liquid from the combination of two system this weekend is the weakest now with the first system.  It however is the furthest South with the second system for Sunday.  The GFS has the ridge building off the coast Saturday and keeps the system to our North.  The Euro brings us more light snow Sunday on the mountains.  The Canadian is far enough South to bring a few more inches of snow on Sunday.  Here is the Canadian precip forecast for both systems showing totals similar to what the other models show with just the first system.

Canadian

The temperatures will be coldest Friday with highs only in the 30's at lake level and 20's on the mountains.  Highs over the weekend will be in the 40's at lake level and 30's on the mountains.  Snow showers could linger through the weekend on the mountains if the second system is far enough South.

Long-Range:

The ridge builds in quickly by next Monday with temperatures jumping back into the 60's.  After a final weekend of skiing at Squaw or Kirkwood with fresh snow it may be back to T-Shirts and Spring activities next week.  There are some signs that we could see some active weather again the week of the 5th, but that is pretty far out right now.

Stay tuned....BA

P.S. some of you have mentioned the big swings in the snowfall forecasts for the ski resorts on the forecasts page.  That is because I switched it to automated for the rest of the season.  They are now tied to the forecast models which change with each run, like the forecasts on many other weather sites that are automated.  I will resume hand typed snowfall forecasts for each resort when they open again next Fall.

 

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Tuesday April 22nd 2014 6:37pm MDT

We picked up around 3-4 inches in total today on Donner Summit from the snow showers.  Mainly on the cold surfaces and less on the warmer surfaces.  Squaw and Alpine reported an inch early this morning so they may have additional amounts to report tomorrow morning.  Kirkwood reported 5 inches this morning.  We had a coating of snow in town this morning and up to an inch in spots around the lake.

A quicky update this evening on the Friday system.  Everything is still on track for another cold system Friday.  This one will have more moisture but not the impressive amounts some models showed a couple days ago.  We should see snow down to lake level but it will have a tough time accumulating.  On the mountains we could see 3-6 inches of snow on the East side of the basin and 6-9 on the West side.  Highest peaks along the crest could see up to a foot.  Friday and Saturday should be the last 2 days for fresh powder on ski resorts this season.

Another system moving through to our North Sunday could bring a few more inches of snow to the mountains.  Friday through Sunday highs will only be in the 30's on the mountains.  Next week we quickly rebound into the 60's on Monday.  That's April... A cutoff low may sit off the coast most of next week and could come inland by the first weekend in May with more precip.

Another update in the morning....BA

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Monday April 21st 2014 9:29am MDT

Summary:

Nice weather today with increasing clouds and winds this afternoon.  Tonight into Tuesday we will see some light snow.  We clear out for Wednesday and Thursday before we could see more snow Friday into the weekend.

Details:

Clouds are already moving onshore this morning ahead of the cold front that will push snow into the basin tonight into Tuesday.  The winds will pick up this afternoon and will be gusty on the mountains into Tuesday.  This system does not have that much precip.  The European model has the most qpf with up to 6 inches possible along the crest.  More likely that we will see a coating at lake level before sunrise and a few inches on the mountains through Tuesday.  Temperatures will only be in the 30's.

Wednesday the ridge shifts closer to the coast and the storm track shifts to our North.  That doesn't last long as the jet stream and cold trough dig further South into CA by Friday.  This system has more precip associated with it.  The snowfall isn't expected to be significant for Winter standards, but could be for late April standards.  The latest model runs show 6-9 inches on the mountains across the basin with up to a foot or more West of the lake along the crest. 

The models are still split on what happens with the 2nd system next weekend.  The GFS continues to show the ridge building in and the system going to our North.  The European and Canadian runs show the 2nd system bringing several more inches of snow to the mountains.  Going with the majority for now and thinking that Friday through Sunday is a snowy period.  Still a few ski resorts that will open that you can get in some fresh tracks.

Long-Range:

The climate models show that we could see some moisture around the first week of May, but with warmer temps.  The long-range of the GFS shows a dry and warm pattern after next weekend.

Stay tuned....BA

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Saturday April 19th 2014 6:55pm MDT

Summary:

Sunday will be sunny and warm, but big changes coming by Tuesday.  We will see much colder air and snow Tuesday with several inches possible on the mountains.  After a break Wednesday into Thursday a stronger system could move in later Friday with snow into next weekend.

Details:

Not much change from the discussion yesterday.  The models are slightly wetter for Tuesday but not much.  The precip will push in Monday night with snow levels above 7000 ft. dropping quickly below lake level by Tuesday morning.  Plenty of cold air will pour in with this cold trough Tuesday.  We could see a coating to an inch or two of snow at lake level Monday night before the sun comes up Tuesday morning, but not on the warm roads.  On the mountains above 7000 ft. the models have enough liquid through Tuesday for 3-6  inches of snow.  The highest amounts should be West of the lake along the crest.  The highest peaks could have slightly more.  Here is the latest GFS precip forecast through Tuesday.

GFS model

We dry out Wednesday and could see temperatures back into the 60's at lake level by Thursday.  The ridge is out near 160w by Friday which may allow another cold trough to dig down off and along the West Coast.  This one may be able to pull in more moisture than the system Tuesday.  We could see snow begin to fall later Friday into Saturday.  On the mountains we could see a foot or more of snow, but it's a little early to talk snowfall amounts a week away.  

The models diverge a little next weekend with the track of second system Sunday into Monday.   The Canadian and European models keep the snow going as the next system brings in another decent shot of snow.  The GFS is now trending further North with the second system next weekend.  We will keep tracking the trend all week.  If the Canadian is correct and we see back to back strong waves next weekend we could see several feet of snow on the mountains.  Here is the precip forecast through Monday the 28th on the Canadian model.  It has 5+ inches of liquid along the crest.

Canadian

One last big powder weekend for a few resorts still open next weekend?  Confidence is building, but still a little wary with it being Spring and the models being fickle with the change in the seasons even a week out.

Long-Range:

It looks like Spring may return after next weekend.  The climate models do have precip for May so it may not stay completely dry.  We do tend to get snow more times than not on Memorial Day weekend.  Then summer usually arrives in June.

May not post tomorrow with all the holiday festivities....Happy Easter for those celebrating!  BA

 

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Friday April 18th 2014 9:20pm MDT

Summary:

A nice weekend with sun and high's in the 60's.  A cold system pushes in for Tuesday with much colder air and light snow.  A significant snow storm is possible next weekend.

Details:

We saw some light rain showers this afternoon and evening along the crest.  The rest of the weekend should be beautiful with high in the 60's.

A big change is in store by Tuesday as a cold trough drops into CA.  We will see high temps only in the 30's with light snow showers.  On the mountains we could see a few inches of accumulation.  Along the crest West of the lake we could see 3-6 inches of snow.

The ridge in the Pacific shifts closer towards the West Coast Thursday with a break in the action into Friday.  Then the ridge retrogrades further West and blocking forms from Western Canada up into Alaska.  That will help to setup the pattern of a cold trough down the West Coast and storms pushed furthern South into CA.  We could see two fairly strong systems for this time of year next weekend if the current model trends continue.  There is good agreement among the forecast models right now that next weekend is cold and snow with significant snowfall possible.  We will be watching this closely all week.

Here is a look at the Canadian and European precip forecast through next weekend.  Both show up to 3 inches of liquid along the crest on top of what falls Tuesday.  That could be a couple feet of snow on the mountains.

Canadian

Euro

I'm not sure how many people are still paying attention, but keep those skis waxed up, we could have one more good powder day.  Squaw, Alpine, and Kirkwood are scheduled to be open next weekend.  This is still just over a week out it could change, but something to pay close attention to all week.

Stay tuned...BA

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