Sunny & mild through Saturday. We cool down slightly for Sunday, and even more so next week. We could see some rain & snow showers Mon-Mon night and again later next week.
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Short Term Forecast
Not much change to the forecast. We have sunny & mild weather that will last into the weekend. The wind will pick up over the weekend and a very slight cool down Sunday. Then colder starting Monday through next week with a few chances for rain & snow showers.
Thursday - Saturday:
Sunny & mild weather continues. Highs in the 50s on the mountains to near 60 degrees at lake level. Ridgetop winds from the southwest gusting to 30-40+ mph Thu-Fri, then increasing to 40-50+ mph Saturday.
Sunday the mostly sunny skies should continue with highs only slightly cooler. We should see 50s for most elevations and 40s above 8500 ft. Ridgetop winds could increase with gusts of 50-60+ mph.
We have been watching the long-range for a couple of weeks and tracking a trough that will dig into the West Coast during the latter half of the 1st week of April. That trough is finally within the 5-day window.
The only thing that seems certain right now is that we will see a cooldown with highs dropping into the 40s and 30s above 8000 ft. Ridgetop winds gusting up to 50+ mph.
What is not certain is precipitation. The models are split. The latest Canadian and European forecast model runs keep a closed low off the coast and precipitation with the cold front to the north Monday into Tuesday. The ICON & GFS models bring in precipitation Monday into Monday night.
No confidence in precipitation with the split between dry models and wet models. The WPC's blended model forecast shows over half of an inch of total precip along the crest through Tuesday morning.
The European and Canadian ensemble mean model runs show very light amounts of precip but are pretty dry as well. The GFS & ICON models show close to half an inch of total precip near the crest. Our automated forecasts on the resort pages use a 4-model average, I use 3x that amount but similar results. For now, all we can do is take the average between the wet and dry model runs.
The reality is that we could see nothing or a few inches of snow on the mountains, so we need a few more days to get better agreement. Snow levels could start just above lake level around 6500-7000 ft. Monday and fall to lake level by late afternoon/evening but no accumulations with warm surfaces. Then snow levels continue to fall into Monday night with a few snow showers possible into Tuesday morning before clearing.
Taking the model average this morning, here is the initial snowfall forecast through Tuesday morning.
The long-range models continue to show the trough hanging around the West Coast through the end of next week and through the 2nd week of April.
The forecast models are all over the place with showing potential storms beyond a week. That is typical any time of year but especially in the Spring with the changing weather pattern and weakening jet stream. Here is a look at a system on the European model next Thursday...
...and another for Saturday the 10th.
The GFS model goes even farther out and shows potential systems through mid-month. We can't focus on any specific storms. I'm just showing that the trough could hang around through the 2nd week of April which could leave the storm door open to systems moving into the West Coast. We will have to track each potential system once they are within the 5-day window.
Overall, we may not see another prolonged sunny & mild pattern more than a couple of days through the period. The weather should be cooler with the chance for showers some days. Not expecting any significant snowfall at this time. Just cooler and unsettled.
The fantasy range models suggest we could see a drier pattern develop during the 2nd half of April. Most ski resorts will be closing by the 18th so the drier pattern may set up just as most ski areas are shutting down. Still holding onto hope of a couple more fresh track mornings before then...
Today is April 1st. The day that the annual snowpack numbers that we hold as the standard are taken. This morning the Central Sierra was reported being at 63% of the April 1st average. This is a measure of the water content in the snow on the ground as we head into melt season and summer. Here is a graph I made of the last 20 years of April 1st reports.
P.S.S. If you plan to continue your skiing through the summer in the southern hemisphere, check out our announcement about adding South American ski resorts to OpenSnow this week!
On this week's episode of The Flakes Podcast, we talk to Lisa Nigon from Homewood Ski Resort about backcountry skiing, the season, and the transition to Summer Operations. Plus the usual snowfall & forecast discussions...
Ski Resort Closing Dates: (all dates are TENTATIVE)
Mt. Shasta - 4/11
Tahoe Donner - 4/11
Sierra at Tahoe - 4/11
Kirkwood - 4/11
Dodge Ridge - 4/11
June Mountain - 4/11
Homewood - 4/11
Boreal - 4/18
Sugar Bowl - 4/18
Northstar - 4/18
Mt. Rose - 4/18
Diamond Peak - 4/18
Heavenly - 4/18
Bear Valley - 4/18
China Peak - 4/18
Squaw/Alpine - 5/31
Mammoth - 5/31
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