- We have partly sunny skies into Tuesday with highs only in the 20’s. We could see a flake or two from passing clouds. Ridgetop winds gusting 30-40+ mph. - Tuesday night through Thursday night a warm storm moves in. Snow levels starting as low as 4,500 feet Tuesday night but then rising as high as 8,000 feet by Wednesday night. Then falling Thursday into Thursday night as the storm moves out. We could see 2-4 feet of snow on the mountains above 8,000 feet, but a thicker snow quality. At 7,000 feet we could see 10-20 inches of snow, but with rain in the middle. At lake level, we could see a few inches Tuesday night into Wednesday morning before a change to rain, and maybe a couple inches at the end. High winds with ridgetop gust well in excess of 100 mph. - A cold system working down the coast Friday through the weekend could bring a few days of lighter snow showers with light amounts of snow possible each day. - The week of the 18th we may transition into a drier pattern with inside slider type systems brushing us with light snow. - The week of the 25th we could transition into a completely dry pattern.
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Short Term Forecast
Today (Monday) will likely be the best day for skiing this week, so get on it! Several mountains were closed yesterday and several others didn't open all the lifts, so there is deep fresh powder out there to ski today. It stays cold with highs in the 20's keeping the snow quality powdery.
You'll want to get on it today because the winds pick up Tuesday and a warm/wet storm with very strong winds is moving in for Wednesday into Thursday. Then everything freezes up for the weekend with light snow accumulations possible.
Final Storm Recap:
For the "Last Season" amounts I put the entire season totals from last season since we are now ahead of that at many ski resorts.
Monday - Tuesday:
For Monday we should see partly sunny skies and highs only in the 20's. Mountaintop winds are gusting 30-40 mph this morning and that should continue through the day. We could see a few flakes of snow from any passing clouds.
Tuesday the weather is similar to Monday to start, but increasing clouds and winds in the afternoon. Ridgetop winds could gust to 80+ mph by the afternoon, likely causing some upper mountain lift closures. It stays cold with highs in the 20's on the mountains and low 30's at lake level.
Wet & Windy Storm:
We have another cold system dropping down from the Gulf of Alaska this week, but we also have a low-pressure system northeast of Hawaii and a strengthening subtropical jet stream.
The forecast models continue to show the low dropping down from the Gulf of Alaska stalling off the Pacific NW Coast. The trough digs southwest helping to dislodge the low that has been stalled north or Hawaii. That low will move northeast off the CA coast by Wednesday.
That will help to pull the subtropical jet stream north into Central CA with a nice AR (atmospheric river) of moisture pointed at us.
With the strong jet stream over CA, we are expecting strong winds Wednesday through Thursday with ridgetop winds over 100 mph and gusts up to 140+ mph. That should close a lot of lifts, leaving only the lower ones down low in the rain.
This is similar to what we discussed yesterday. The only change this morning is that the southern jet, warmest air, and heaviest precip are pointed slightly further north into Tahoe on the latest model runs. The GFS is a little slower holding off the heavy precip until Wednesday morning, the European model is a little faster bringing it in Tuesday night.
Snow levels start low down around 4,500 feet Tuesday evening. But as the storm moves in so do the stronger winds and warmer air. Decent model agreement in heavy rain and snow for Wednesday with snow levels rising to 7,500 feet by afternoon. Then heavy precip continuing Wednesday night with snow levels possibly rising to 8,000 feet.
The European and NAM models are pushing the subtropical jet to our south on Thursday with only lighter precip amounts and snow levels falling below lake level, but the GFS is keeping the heavy precip going with snow levels only lowering to 7,000 feet. The GFS actually keeps the snow going into Thursday night with snow levels dropping below lake level.
All of the timing differences and fluctuating snow levels are creating the usual frustration with making a snowfall forecast. The models are average around 4 inches of total precip on the crest, with the GFS showing up to 5.5 inches.
Assuming the snow levels above and averaging out the timing and precip amounts. Here is the updated snowfall forecast for Tuesday night through Thursday night. Notice the steep drop-off in amounts as you go below 8k. Not much change from yesterday in the 8k forecast. The higher precip amounts on the models today are offset by warmer temps and lower snow ratios.
Some of the lower base mountains like Homewood, Boreal, Bear Valley, & Dodge Ridge you will likely want to lean towards the lower end or even the 7,000' forecast if we see snow levels up around 8,000 feet at the height of the storm.
We will continue to watch the trend with this system. There is a cold trough pushing down from the north but the strengthening subtropical jet and Kona low are going take control it appears. If you have feet of snow on your roof, you may want to consult someone on whether or not you need to remove it and a safe way to do so before it fills with inches of rain at lake level and becomes very heavy.
Another cold low-pressure system drops down from the north for the weekend. The trend with this system is for it to move inland well to our north and drop into the Great Basin. That is a drier scenario. It will get cold again with highs in the 20's. We could see light snow showers Friday through Sunday with a few inches possible on the mountains each day.
The long-range ensemble runs continue to trend towards my thinking next week and beyond. They are likely catching onto the MJO forecast to progress east through the Pacific finally. They are showing the ridge in the northeast Pacific nudging closer to the coast the week of the 18th and the trough shifting east, with a cold inside slider pattern setting up where storms drop down to our east and possibly brush us with light snow.
Going into the week of the 25th the pattern could continue to shift eastward with the trough pushing further into the Eastern U.S., and the ridge off the coast moving over the West Coast. That would bring an even drier and milder pattern.
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