A few snow showers are possible early Saturday morning, then partly sunny. Mostly sunny with increasing winds Sunday and seasonal temperatures. Monday a weak system will bring some snow showers later in the day. After a break Tue-Wed, a stronger storm is possible for Thursday - Friday.
Short Term Forecast
We have a little surprise Saturday morning if you are awake. A weak front is moving through that we only expected to bring some clouds and then clearing, but it is squeezing out a few snow showers over the mountains this morning.
Only expecting a dusting of snow at best. Temperatures are barely below freezing on the mountains and above freezing at lake level. Skies clear through the day with the sun coming out and highs into the 40s.
Sunday will have mostly sunny skies with highs into the 40s. Ridgetop winds increasing from the west up to 50+ mph during the afternoon.
A colder front but only slightly wetter will move through the region Monday. The latest model runs show snow showers moving through Monday afternoon into Monday night. Expect partly sunny skies and colder air with highs only in the 30s along with strong ridgetop winds from the west gusting up to 70+ mph.
That will make Monday feel even colder and temperatures dropping into the 20s on the mountains behind the front. The latest model runs continue to show an average of only 1 tenth of an inch of total precipitation on the high-end with this system.
Interestingly the latest GFS model run shows up to 2.5 tenths so we will watch to see if any other models trend wetter. For now, the snowfall forecast has not changed. A dusting to an inch for most areas with up to 2 inches for some peaks.
Tuesday - Wednesday:
Nicer weather for Tuesday and Wednesday. Mostly sunny skies with highs into the 30s at lake level and 20s for the higher elevations. Maybe getting close to 40 degrees at lake level by Wednesday afternoon.
Of note, if I don't mention winds it's usually because they are not expected to be a big factor in the weather or strong enough to close ski lifts. You can always see the hourly wind gust forecast for any mountain by clicking/tapping on the peak on the maps page and looking at the detailed forecast for that point.
The Thursday-Friday storm continues to look more interesting. In the last post, I explained the different scenarios with the wettest being the low tracking south down the coast and tapping into moisture from a low moving under the ridge north of Hawaii. More but not all models show this possibility now.
The latest 06z GFS model runs showed the low tracking inland and not tapping into additional moisture. This could be a prolonged 2-day storm, so we still need to keep watching the trends with this system.
There is also better consensus on a 2nd system dropping in on the heels of the first next Saturday-Sunday the 3rd-4th.
Looking at the European & GFS ensemble mean model precipitation forecasts through next Sunday overlayed on top of each other, you can see the European model (red) continues to be the wetter model showing up to 5 inches of total liquid over the next 8 days west of the lake along the crest, and the GFS model in blue is drier but now shows up to 3 inches in total.
Here is a look at the map view of the European ensemble mean model.
I do like the latest model runs showing the trough digging farther west off the coast Thursday into next weekend. That would mean a better chance for wetter storms to move in CA compared to the trough centered farther east with the Monday system.
I may start to put out an initial snowfall forecast for the Thu-Fri storm Sunday morning as it enters the 5-6 day window. Hopefully, the models come into better agreement on the scenario...
Day 10 is Monday the 5th. Looking at day 10 and beyond through the week of the 5th, the long-range models are split on the pattern. The GFS continues to suggest a drier pattern that week, while the European model has been trending toward the active pattern continuing. We'll continue to monitor the trends.
Ski Area Opening Dates:
- Boreal - Open
- Donner Ski Ranch - Open (weekends only)
- Northstar - Open
- Palisades - Open
- Mt. Rose - Open
- Heavenly - Open
- Kirkwood - Open
- Dodge Ridge - Open
- China Peak - Open
- Mammoth - Open
- Sugar Bowl - Open
- Bear Valley - Open
- Sierra at Tahoe - 12/3 - Welcome Back!!
- Diamond Peak - 12/8
- Tahoe Donner - 12/9
- Homewood - 12/9
On this week's episode, we follow Caleb's dream winter, look at the 5-Day Snowfall Reports for U.S. Ski Resorts, go through the 5-Day Snowfall Forecasts, discuss the Long Range Outlook, as well as a few laughs!
Be sure to join us for another season of good times chasing snow!
Available on most podcast platforms...