The weak system that moved through Tuesday into Tuesday night brought snow showers and 1-3 inches of new snow from the base up to the upper mountain.
We have some snow showers early Wednesday morning and the snow will increase through the morning with heavy snow expected during the day into Wednesday evening. The storm will shift south Wednesday night with the snow tapering overnight and clearing out by Thursday morning.
The winds are gusting up to 70+ mph from the west early Wednesday morning, and will increase to 100-120+ during the day! That means lots of lift closures and lots of blowing and drifting of the powdery snow pouring down. Highs only in the 20s, with snow levels well below the base.
The snow ratios are going to be averaging around 12-18:1 from the base up to 9000 ft. The cold air and high snow ratios along with the increased precipitation forecasts mean that we could see the biggest storm of the season so far!
We could see additional snowfall amounts by Thursday morning of 14-19 inches at the base and 19-25 inches on the mountain.
Thursday – Friday:
Thursday the high winds drop off and we will see mostly sunny skies with highs in the 20s. Should be a beautiful powder day!
Friday we could see partly sunny skies with clouds increasing through the afternoon ahead of the next storm. Highs into the 30s for the lower elevations. Ridgetop winds from the west will be increasing to 60-70+ mph during the day, which could affect some upper mountain lifts.
Friday Night – Saturday Storm:
If you are coming up for MLK weekend, taking Friday off and coming up early would be a good idea. The timing isn’t clear yet, but snow is expected to move back in sometime Friday night, with heavier rain and snow expected for Saturday into Saturday evening, and then tapering later Saturday night and clearing by Sunday morning.
Highs into the 30s as this storm will draw in some warmer air and will have higher snow levels. Ridgetop winds will be gusting up to 100+ mph again on Saturday, so it won’t be very pleasant for skiing and we should see some upper mountain ski lifts close for the day.
Snow levels will start lower around 4000-5000 ft. Friday night as colder and drier air is in place to start. Then as warmer air is drawn in the snow levels could rise above the base to around 6500-7000 ft. Saturday afternoon. Then falling back to the base Saturday night as the storm winds down.
By Sunday morning we could see storm totals of around 5-9 inches of snow at the base, and 8-16 inches on the mountain from 7000 up to the peaks.
Sunday – MLK Day:
High pressure begins to build in over the West Coast Sunday into Monday. We should see mostly sunny skies both days with highs into the 30s, along with lighter winds. The weather should be beautiful after a stormy day on Saturday.
If you are chasing the fresh snow on the upper mountains for Sunday morning, get on it early as the temperatures are forecast to warm above freezing on the lower mountains, and with the sun coming out the snow will start to become thicker.
The high-pressure ridge is forecast to remain over CA through the 19th. That should keep us mostly dry with some milder temperatures possible by the middle of next week. Some forecast models still try to brush us on the southern edge of a storm moving through the Pacific NW midweek, but most of the models now keep the moisture to our north.
We could see highs into the 40s for the lower elevations with partly-mostly sunny skies through the end of the week if the midweek storm stays to our north.
The long-range models continue to show an extended Pacific jet stream with lower heights across the North Pacific to near the West Coast by the 20th through the 22nd-23rd.
We will have to see if the storms will reach the coast or how much they weaken before moving inland. We could see a decent storm during the period, but that pattern is back to getting storms the harder way, so they may be weaker by the time they reach the Sierra. We’ll continue to watch the trends.