Back from our quick trip and ready to track down a couple more winter storms for the Sierra over the next few days.
We were in the Sierra from Sequoia National Park up to Yosemite the last few days. So we did run into the rain and snow from the last storm. We even saw some flakes down into Yosemite Village Thursday night. It made for some spectacular views yesterday with all the snow.
Meanwhile, Squaw picked up 18 inches of snow from the last storm, Heavenly 6 inches and Mammoth 17 inches up top. That is already more snow than April for Mammoth, and Squaw only needs 6 more inches to go ahead of April's totals. They also broke 700" yesterday at Squaw putting them at the top of the snowfall leader board in CA. The average for May is only around 12" so we are already above average for the month with 2 more snowstorms on the way.
Saturday Night Storm:
We have a strong jet stream for May aimed at the West Coast.
The next storm is already approaching the coast this morning. It's a cold and cloudy morning this morning with temperatures in the 30's at lake level and 20's on the mountains. The snow levels are already starting out around 7,000 feet this afternoon as the showers from the next storm start to move in. Snow levels fall below lake level tonight into Sunday as some heavier snow pushes in. Ridgetop winds are only gusting to around 30 mph this morning but will increase to 50+ mph this afternoon possibly affecting some upper mountain lifts at Squaw and Heavenly.
The latest forecast model runs have pulled back slightly on total precipitation amounts. They show the moisture streaming in shifting to our South pretty quickly overnight. They also show some decent shadowing east of the crest. Then snow showers for Sunday as the center of low pressure slides down along the CA coast.
The NAM model is the driest this morning with only up to 4 tenths of an inch of total precipitation west of the lake along the crest near Squaw. The European model is the wettest with up to 8 tenths of an inch. The GFS is in the middle with 5-6 tenths.
You can see the heavier precipitation to the south with this storm. That means this storm should deliver less snow than the last storm. Based off the latest model runs we could see a coating up to a couple of inches of snow at lake level, 1-3 inches up to 7,000 feet, and 3-6 inches above 7,000 feet. Under some heavier bands, we could see 6-9 inches of snow above 8,000 feet in spots along the crest. Lesser amounts east across the lake. I would halve the forecast for Heavenly.
It will be cold Sunday with highs in the 30's, and ridgetop winds could still be gusting to 50+ mph affecting some upper mountain lifts. We could see a break on Monday with some sun and highs into the 40's at lake level.
High pressure begins to build off the coast Monday through next week, but not before a final storm dives over the top and south into CA Monday night into Tuesday. This could bring a final round of snow showers. The latest model runs are a little wetter with this system. Snow levels could fall below lake level again after rising above 7,000 feet Monday.
Right now it looks like this storm could bring another 3-6 inches of snow to the mountains. We will keep an eye on it for the next few days.
The cold trough over the West Coast this weekend into Tuesday...
...shifts east by Wednesday as high pressure continues to build off the coast.
With the trough hanging back over the Southwest and Great basin through Memorial Day Weekend, we could see additional areas of low pressure. The ridge off the coast blocks cold/wet storms from moving into CA like we have been seeing, but low pressure to our east could bring a more spring-like pattern with afternoon showers popping up each day Wednesday through next weekend.
The GFS model shows quite a bit of precipitation over the next 10 days from the storms this weekend and the showers next weekend. We will definitely have above average precipitation for the month of May.
Temperatures are expected to warm back into the 50's with snow levels above 8,000 feet. That could make for a cool Memorial Day Weekend, with some sun, clouds, and afternoon showers. The long-range models do show high-pressure building in over the West Coast going into June. Maybe we will finally see Summer come and stay going into June.
Ski Resorts Still Operating:
Squaw - Open 7-days a week through Memorial Day, then open weekends through 7/7 (conditions permitting)
Heavenly - Re-opening one last time for Memorial Day Weekend.
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