Sun & some clouds with cooler air Monday. Rain & snow shower chances increase by Monday evening and continue through Friday evening, especially during the afternoon-evening hours. The unsettled pattern could last into the weekend. Then a drier & milder pattern is expected next week through at least mid-month.
Short Term Forecast
This will be the final forecast for the Northern/Central Sierra and Tahoe region for the 2022-23 ski season. Of course, after a huge snowfall season, we are finishing with a forecast for a chance of rain & snow showers each day through the first week of May.
I'll likely do a follow-up post in a week to recap any snowfall we see this week and to post the final season totals. I also plan to do a season recap post in June that will likely get posted on the "News" page.
We only have 2 ski areas that are open daily this week, and then 6 for the first weekend of May from Tahoe down through the Central Sierra. 3 close on Sunday and then 1 next Sunday the 14th, with 2 that will shoot for July. The most recent schedule is at the bottom of this post.
Monday - Friday Snow Shower Chances:
We can see the trough digging south over the West Coast on satellite Monday morning, and we can also make out the circulation of the low-pressure center spinning off of the Pacific NW coast.
That low-pressure system will be making its way south down the coast on Monday and then will spend a few days around the Central CA coast this week sending moisture and energy into the Northern/Central Sierra.
There won't be strong winds to help with orographic lift over the mountains which helps to squeeze out precipitation, but we will have variable winds and more importantly a strong May sun angle with daytime heating that will help with lifting the air along with the mountain terrain lift. That will help to enhance shower chances and intensity each afternoon.
Here is a look at our forecast radar map, which you can view on our "Maps" page, showing the showers increasing over the Sierra by Monday evening and then again Tuesday afternoon-evening.
There is colder air at the center of the low near the coast. We are on the eastern side with some colder air working in, especially under any heavier bands of precipitation that set up. The coldest period looks to be Monday night through Tuesday night, and the heaviest precipitation period could be Tuesday afternoon-evening.
Highs into the 40s at lake level through the week but colder under any bands of rain/snow, and 30s for highs on the mountains. The most cloud cover could be Tuesday with partly sunny skies Monday and again Wednesday through Friday over the lake. The clouds and shower chances increase each afternoon-evening through Friday.
Since this is my last forecast of the season, I am going to lump all of the precipitation and snowfall into a 5-day period through Friday evening. Any snow that falls each day will be melting between showers each day, especially for the lower elevations, so the snowfall forecasts for the week will not ever be a total measured on the ground.
The latest model runs have trended slightly wetter as of Monday morning. They show 0.6 up to 2 inches of total precipitation over the region, with the highest totals on the tallest peaks on both sides of the lake and down the crest.
The total model average is around 1.4 inches near the crest this morning with only slightly less east across the lake with the lighter and variable winds and moisture wrapping in around the east side of the low.
As I mentioned above, the heaviest precipitation is expected Tuesday afternoon-evening as a steadier band of precip forms on the east side of the rotation over the mountains. Only scattered showers look likely the other days, but possibly a chance for a few steadier bands of precip again Thursday as the low begins to move inland.
The snow levels will be fluctuating through the week as the low wobbles around to our west. Overall colder air and lower snow levels under any bands of showers and heavier precipitation, and at night.
We could see snow levels start around 7000-8000 ft. Monday afternoon-evening as showers begin to pop up around the region. Then falling as low as 4500-5500 ft. by early Tuesday morning. Then fluctuating between 6000-7000 ft. into early Wednesday morning.
Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning snow levels could rise and fluctuate between 7000-8000 ft. Then possibly dipping close to lake level with any heavier showers into Thursday evening. They could rise up between 7000-8000 ft. again Friday and could possibly dip a bit below 7000 ft. with any heavier showers that pop up Friday afternoon-evening.
The snow ratios could average around 11:1 near 8000 ft. through the week, with much lower ratios and wet snow below that when we see any snow down to lake level.
We could see a dusting up to an inch or two of snow by early Tuesday morning. Then a few up to several inches of snow is possible on the mountains later Tuesday through Tuesday night. Thursday a coating up to a few inches are possible again. Wednesday & Friday only a dusting to an inch looks likely at best.
For lake level up to 7000 ft., we will see some times of rain showers through Tuesday, and then up to as high as 8000 ft. possibly at times Wednesday through Friday
As I mentioned above, the snow will be melting each day between periods of showers, especially for the lower elevations. We will not see the snowfall totals for the week on the ground. For my final forecast of the season below, these are the totals we could see if you added up the snowfall after each round of snow each day before it starts to melt.
It will be hard to see any snow accumulate during the daylight hours at lake level, except on top of snow already on the ground. The same for most elevations with snow melting on warmer surfaces, especially as the sun comes up each morning.
Overall a colder and unsettled week ahead for the first week of May, with possibly some fresh tracks out there to be had early Wednesday morning.
The trough is forecast to hang around the West Coast through the first week of May. That could keep the cooler air around through the weekend.
It could also allow the next upstream system moving into the Pacific NW to bring enough moisture into the region for a few scattered showers to pop up again Saturday and Sunday afternoon-evening.
The trough begins to lift out of the region the week of the 8th with less of a chance for any showers. We may begin a drier and milder trend through the week.
Final Fantasy Range Forecast:
The long-range models have been consistent in showing high-pressure building over the West beyond the 10th through mid-month, and possibly through the 3rd week of May.
That would bring full-on spring back to the region with a warmer and drier pattern.
The first week of May could be the last chance to see any accumulating snowfall on the mountains. Snow is possible every month including later in May and June. Be sure to continue using the OpenSnow site and app to stay up to date on the weather in the mountains and wherever you are through the off-season
See you next season!...BA
P.S. I plan to write a bonus post the 2nd week of May, when I return from my end-of-the-season family vacation, just to review any snowfall totals we can get from the ski areas that are still open, and to review the updated season totals.
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