- We will see some sun and lighter winds Thursday through Saturday with highs in the 30's on the mountains to near 40 at lake level. We could see some clouds Friday into Saturday from a system moving south off the coast. - Sunday we have increasing clouds with highs in the 30's. Snowfall from the next system pushes in Sunday night. We could see light snowfall Sunday night through Monday with light snowfall accumulations. - We could see several systems move in Monday night through Wednesday night with almost continuous snowfall through Thursday. Snowfall amounts could become heavier starting Monday night through Thursday. Snow levels look like they stay below lake level. - After a break next Friday we could see a final storm move through Friday night into Saturday with higher snow levels. Then we are expecting a drier pattern to build in starting around the 20th.
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Short Term Forecast
The storm performed pretty much as expected, especially on the south side of the lake. Like the last storm, we saw a narrow band of heavier snowfall sit over the north side of the lake yesterday morning. That pushed the storm totals just over the high end of the forecast. I posted an update video on here at noon yesterday discussing how NW of the lake seemed to be a snowfall magnet again.
The other thing that was different than the original forecast was that slightly more precip pushed across to the northeast corner of the lake over Mt Rose. Snow levels hovered in the 6500-7000 ft. range yesterday, with the heavy band in the morning pushing snow levels close to lake level when Squaw picked up a quick inch in the village. Then back up with the lighter showers.
Here are the totals for the storm and the last 5 days. It has been a good 5 days with 2-5 feet falling on the mountains. We are now around 81% of average snowfall on the upper mountains YTD. Pacing ok still with about 30% of the season completed and 30% of the seasonal averages falling so far.
Here is the scorecard for this storm. South side of the lake the ski resorts picked up the exact forecast again, and NW of the lake they got the over again with 3-5 inches over the forecast.
Sunday we will see increasing clouds as the next system splits with low pressure stalling off the CA coast. The low spinning off the coast should push some light precip into the area Sunday night into Monday. The snowfall amounts look very light, with snow levels below lake level.
Monday night into Tuesday the low could finally move into CA pushing in heavier snowfall. There are some timing differences
The GFS is faster pushing in the heavier precip Monday night with over an inch of total precip along the crest by Tuesday morning. Here is the initial snowfall forecast for Sunday night through Monday night. Based on the latest model runs I'd lean towards the low end until some other models trend towards the GFS in pushing in heavier snowfall Monday night.
Heavier Snowfall Possible:
5 days is as far as I go with the snowfall details due to low model accuracy with details beyond that. I discuss possible storms in the 5-10 day window, and then only possible patterns 10+ days out. Just wanted to clarify in case you are new to the site.
In the 5-10 day window, we have the potential for several wetter storms that could bring heavier snowfall amounts. The low stalled near the coast Monday is forecast to push inland by Tuesday bringing heavier snowfall. Then another wave behind that could move in Tuesday night into Wednesday continuing the snowfall.
The jet stream is aimed at CA through Thursday with a final storm possibly pushing in Wednesday night into Thursday.
This storm could be the wettest as it draws in quite a bit of moisture off the Pacific.
The latest model runs keep snow levels below lake level through Thursday. If the current forecast holds, we could see almost continuous snowfall of varying intensity Sunday night through Thursday. If that happens we could see the snowfall pile up to significant amounts by the end of the week.
I will add in the snowfall details 5 days out each day as we get closer and have more confidence in the details. We do have the 10-day snowfall forecast on our individual ski resort pages.
I still think we are are going to have a drier pattern later in the month. I originally was forecasting that to set in sometime during the 3rd week of January. As we get closer, the long-range models have been delaying that pattern a few days. The latest ensemble runs
There could be a final storm moving into the Pacific NW Friday into Saturday the 19-20th. The latest model runs are pushing the front far enough south to bring a final round of snowfall to the area, but the snow levels are much higher until after the front goes through. We will have to see if the storm pattern that starts Sunday can last through the following Saturday before a drier pattern builds in.
Here is the GFS ensemble mean total precipitation forecast for the next 10 days for CA.
It looks like the drier pattern could finally start to build in starting the 20th into the last week of January.
The CFSv2 long-range forecast for precipitation probability has weeks 3 & 4 below average. This model usually is not that reliable, but it did a good job predicting the current wet pattern 2-3 weeks out.
The one thing I noticed on the latest ensemble runs is that they put the center of the high-pressure ridge off the West Coast instead of over it later in the month. That would still be a drier pattern, but a potentially colder pattern than if the ridge builds over CA. We saw a similar cold/dry pattern set up in December.
Also, the active MJO that has been helping to drive the active pattern is forecast to get quiet for a couple weeks.
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