For Friday, we have the low spinning off the coast with some clouds streaming in over the northern Sierra. But overall we have a quieter day with some sun even peaking out this morning. We could see some scattered showers with snow levels continuing to stay above 8000 ft. through the afternoon.
Friday Night – Saturday Night Storms:
Up until a couple of days ago, we were only expecting the warmer storm off the coast to move through by Saturday evening with clearing Saturday night. Over the last 2 days, the models have been trending the system associated with a cold front to our north farther south, with some steadier precipitation reaching the northern Sierra.
The low off the coast moves through CA Friday night into Saturday increasing showers and steadier precipitation. This is still the warmer part of the storm we have been experiencing since Wednesday night, with high-elevation snow above 7500-8000 ft. We could see snow levels dip near 7000 ft. at times under heavier bands of precipitation Friday night, but then bounce back up under lighter showers.
Above 8000 ft. we could see 3-7 inches of wet snow by Saturday afternoon, with a coating up to a few inches possible between 7000-8000 ft., and just rain at the base. Highs near 40 degrees at the base on Saturday and 30s on the mountain.
Saturday Night Cold Front & Snow:
Saturday night has become the more interesting part of this storm over the last two days with the trend farther south with the upstream system and cold front that helps to kick the initial low inland. How far south this system can dig the heavier band of precipitation with the front, the more snow we could see.
The latest model runs now have as much precipitation falling Saturday night as they do Friday-Saturday during the warmer storm. So doubling the totals as snow levels fall. Saturday night snow levels fall to near 6500-7000 ft. during the evening and to the base by midnight. So, how fast they fall compared to how fast the precipitation moves out will determine how much snow we can see.
Based on the latest forecast model runs, I’m forecasting 1-4 inches at base by Sunday morning. Above 7000 ft. an additional 3-7 inches of snow is possible Saturday night, with totals around 4-10 inches by Sunday morning. Above 8000 ft. up top, I’m expecting mostly snow with 7-14 inches of snow possible in total by Sunday morning.
Remember that the automated snowfall forecasts on the weather page are for mid-mountain below 8000 ft. So they are only showing snow Saturday night as we see a rain-snow mix forecast at that elevation through Saturday.
The storms clear with mostly sunny skies expected each day starting Sunday. It starts out cool with highs in the 40s for the lower elevations near the base and 30s for the upper mountain Sunday into Monday. Colder air at night behind the storm should be pretty good for snowmaking as we prepare for opening day on the 22nd!
By Tuesday into Wednesday high pressure is forecast to be fairly strong over the West Coast. That should continue to warm the air temperatures with highs warming into the 50s at the base both days. Travel weather for Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving looks pretty good right now.
We are still watching for the possibility of a cold front moving into the West on Thanksgiving Day. It could dig far enough west for some snow showers to reach the northern Sierra, but a better chance that we could just see some colder air move into the region. Highs likely dropping back into the 40s.
High pressure is forecast to build back in through the weekend of the 25th, with a dry pattern still looking likely through at least the 27th, and possibly longer.
The long-range models continue to suggest high pressure breaks down over the West with lower heights by the end of the month into early December. That would normally make us think that the door is open to storms, but the latest model runs aren’t showing anything more than weak systems moving through.
We’ll continue to watch the trends for December as we would expect the pattern to become more active as we go through the month.