The pattern change we have been anticipating is upon us. Clouds and winds are already increasing Tuesday. We will see an active pattern for about a week starting Wednesday.
The next storm will be approaching the coast Wednesday. Ridgetop winds are gusting to 30+ mph Tuesday morning and will increase to 40+ in the afternoon. Winds should continue to increase Wednesday gusting to 50+ mph. We could see a few showers later in the day Wednesday into Wednesday night with snow levels above 8,000 feet. Temperatures about 10 degrees cooler for Wednesday with highs in the 50's at lake level, and 40's above 8,000 feet.
Thursday the cold front moves through and then the center of low pressure moves through Thursday night. That could bring moderate/heavy rain and snow Thursday into Thursday night. Snow levels could drop to near 7,000 feet Thursday morning, and below lake level by Thursday evening. Ridgetop winds increasing to 60+ mph likely affecting upper mountain lift operations at Squaw.
The snowfall forecast hasn't changed much over the last few days. The most recent forecast model runs are slightly wetter showing up to an inch of total precipitation near the crest by Friday morning.
We could see a coating of snow even to lake level on colder surfaces Thursday night. Above 7,000 feet we could see 3-6 inches of snow and 6-12 inches above 8,000 feet by Friday morning. The highest peaks along the crest could see over a foot of snow.
The biggest issue with late-season snow storms is people being unprepared. High winds and heavy snow in the higher elevations will be dangerous if anyone is up there hiking this week and unprepared. We could see the snow stick to the roads over the passes Thursday night when the sun goes down. I'm sure there will be lots of people traveling without chains if controls go into effect.
Active Pattern Continues:
Snow levels by Friday morning could be near 5,000 feet. Then we should clear out between storms Friday into Saturday with snow levels rising back up above 7,000 feet. We could see some sun on Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. with temperatures back into the 40's and 50's.
The break is short-lived as the next storm moves in by Saturday night into Sunday. This is another cold storm that could bring similar amounts of snow to the mountains as the first storm. We will continue to watch this storm over the next few days as well. Total precipitation forecasts show up to 2+ inches near the crest by Monday. Winds could be an issue at Squaw and Heavenly on Sunday.
Another system is possible for Monday into Tuesday. The latest model runs show that it could split with the southern piece going down the coast. But it may come close enough for more showers but higher snow levels. Total precipitation by next Thursday could be around 3 inches along the crest and 1-2 inches across the Tahoe basin.
The average rainfall for May at the Snow Lab near Donner Summit is around 3 inches and 10 inches for snowfall. So we could pick up the average amounts for the entire month over the next 7 days. The MJO has become active in the Pacific again the last 2 weeks after being quiet since March. That may be helping to give the jet stream a little more energy here late in the season.
High pressure looks like it may build off the coast by the middle of next week. That should put an end to cold storms moving in off the Pacific. Low pressure hanging around the Southwest could keep a chance for afternoon showers around. But I'm hoping we go into a drier and warmer pattern for Memorial Day weekend.
P.S. I'll be off-grid the next few days taking the RV on a pre-season test run. So I may not be able to update again until the weekend. Enjoy the late season weather fun.
Squaw - Closing 5/27, then re-opening weekends through 7/7 (conditions permitting)
Alpine Meadows - Closed, re-opening weekends through 5/19
Heavenly - Closed, re-opening weekends through 5/27
Tahoe Donner - Closed
Kirkwood - Closed
Bear Valley - Closed
Dodge Ridge - Closed
Sugar Bowl - Closed
Sierra at Tahoe - Closed
Homewood - Closed
Boreal - Closed
Northstar - Closed
Diamond Peak - Closed
Mt. Rose - Closed
Donner Ski Ranch - Closed
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