We have snow moving toward the northern Sierra. Temperatures are in the 20s and the winds are increasing. We will have ridgetop gusts up to 90-100 mph by afternoon, which will close some upper mountain lifts. The snow showers are expected to reach the mountain around between 8-10 AM with some heavier snow for the afternoon, and then the storm wraps up by 8-10 PM.
That means it’s only a 12-hour storm at best which is a fast-moving system, which will limit the snowfall amounts. The latest model runs are still showing an average of around 1 inch of precipitation falling over the mountain. Snow levels will fall below 4000 ft. with powdery snow falling on the mountain which will also blow around.
With the latest model runs holding pretty steady with the precipitation forecasts, my snowfall forecast for the storm hasn’t really changed from yesterday. We could be measuring storm totals of 8-13 inches at the base and 10-17 inches on the mountain early Sunday morning.
Sunday – Monday:
We will clear out for Sunday with mostly sunny skies expected for both Sunday and Monday. It will be cold for Sunday with highs only in the 20s and a cold breeze from the north, gusting up to 40-50+ mph over the peaks. Monday we will rebound into the 30s for the lower elevations with the breezy north winds continuing.
Tuesday – Wednesday Systems:
The storms will be tracking down from the north close to the coast, and a slight jog east or west in the track can bring big swings in how much moisture they will have. Depending on the latest trends in the track the forecast models can fluctuate quite a bit each day for precipitation forecasts.
The Tuesday systems still looks to track down more over land with less moisture and only scattered snow showers with maybe a dusting to an inch of snow. It will be another windy day with highs in the 30s and ridgetop winds gusting from the west up to 70-80+ mph.
Then winds increase up to 100+ mph on Wednesday as the next system drops down from the north with even colder air and more snow, with highs only in the 20s. This morning the forecast models are all trending toward a drier track as the trough is forecast to be a bit farther east and the storm track more over land.
Snow levels could start near to just above lake level Tuesday morning and then fall below 5000 ft. Tuesday night. Then much colder air moves in behind the Wednesday storm with snow levels crashing Wednesday night as the 2nd storm winds down. That will bring powdery snow with higher snow ratios helping to fluff snowfall from the small amounts of precipitation.
With the drier trend with the track of the Wednesday system, my snowfall forecast has dropped this morning. We could see a dusting to an inch of snow Tuesday from the snow showers, and then several inches on Wednesday with storm totals by Thursday morning of 5-9 inches at the base and 6-12 inches on the mountain.
Thursday – Friday:
We were expecting a break between storms on Thursday. The biggest change in the latest model runs is that they now extend the break between storms into Friday. We could see partly-mostly sunny skies on both days, with highs in the 20s. Gusty NW winds up to 30-40+ mph over the ridges Thursday and 50-60+ mph Friday.
The 3rd system could now move through next Saturday. It still looks like it could be the wettest storm of the week with a track more over water picking up more moisture. If you are coming up for the 3-day weekend to ski, stay tuned all week as it could be snowy and stormy at some point between Friday night and Saturday.
By Sunday the 14th into the week of the 15th the long-range models continue to show the pattern beginning to shift, with the trough shifting east and the eastern Pacific ridge building in over the West Coast. That should bring a drier pattern for the remained of MLK weekend, and into the 16-17th. We should also see temperatures starting to warm some as well.
The long-range ensemble mean models continue to show troughing returning to the West Coast by the 18th into the 4th week of January. That could open the storm door back up, but that’s pretty far out and could change as we get closer. We’ll continue to watch the trends.