The storm couldn’t have performed any better than we expected. I had a forecast for 8-13 inches at the base and 10-17 inches from bottom to top on the mountain, and we have 24-hour snowfall totals of 10-13 inches at the base and 10-17 inches on the mountain from bottom to top!
It was very windy on Saturday so a lot of the upper mountain lifts were closed. After avalanche controls are performed there is a lot of untouched snow to ski on the mountain.
Sunday – Monday Weather:
We will have mostly sunny skies on Sunday and Monday. It will be cold on Sunday with highs only in the 20s, and then 30s for the lower elevations on Monday. The north winds will be a little breezy & making it feel even colder, with ridgetop gusts up to 30-40+ mph Sunday and 40-50+ mph Monday.
Tuesday – Wednesday Storms:
The latest model runs still track the Tuesday storm down from the north more over land taking a drier path. We should see some light snow showers develop during the morning and continuing into Tuesday night. Some models show some steadier snow showers later in the day.
Then on Wednesday the next storm drops down from the north and looks to have a bit more moisture and colder air. We could see snow showers Wednesday morning with some heavier snow possible during the afternoon-evening hours, and then snow showers overnight before clearing by Thursday morning.
We are going to have to deal with strong winds again, with ridgetop winds gusting up to 90-100+ mph from the west both days, which will likely close quite a few exposed upper mountain ski lifts. Highs in the 30s for Tuesday and dropping into the 20s Wednesday.
We could see 1-3 inches of new snow by Wednesday morning. Then several inches of additional snow is expected through Wednesday night with higher snow ratios and powdery snow falling. We could see storm totals of 6-11 inches at the base and 8-15 inches on the mountain by Thursday morning.
The winds will finally come down some on Thursday allowing us to access the snow on the upper bowls and ridges. We could see mostly sunny skies, but it will be cold with highs in the 20s, and ridgetop winds could be gusting up to 40-50+ mph from the northwest over the ridgetops by afternoon.
Friday – Saturday:
The latest model runs have really diverged by Friday into Saturday. Some forecast models now show high-pressure building in with the dry weather continuing through the weekend, while other models show a strong storm moving in sometime Friday and lasting into Saturday with heavy snow.
I don’t forecast out more than 5 days for snowfall, and this is at days 6-7, but if I had to the forecast would be for 0 – 48 inches, ha. We have a lot of ironing out to do over the next several days. Will the trough shift east and this system drops down well to our east keeping us dry, will it track down from the north with only light snow, or will it tap into subtropical moisture and dump feet of snow?
There is better agreement among the long-range models that the trough shifts east by next Sunday the 14th, with a drier pattern setting up by Sunday into the week of the 15th.
Later in the month, around the 19th-20th into the 4th week of January, the long-range models still show a shift in the pattern with the Pacific jet stream becoming more linear and trying to extend toward the West Coast.
Some models show a weaker jet and weak troughing near the coast with the drier pattern continuing, while others show a stronger and more extended jet stream closer to the West Coast, and lower heights to the north into the West Coast, with above-average precipitation for the Sierra.
More forecasting fun as we watch the trends…