Moisture continues to stream in to our north Saturday into Saturday night. That will continue to bring us some clouds, and maybe a stray rain shower or two. It’s mild with very high snow levels above most of the peaks. Highs into the 40s on the mountain and near 50 degrees down at the base.
Sunday – Tuesday:
High pressure strengthens over the West through Tuesday with the storm track even farther north. That will bring us drier and milder weather. Partly – mostly sunny skies each day with highs into the 50s, and 40s for the highest elevations.
Wednesday – Thursday Storm:
The next storm will be approaching the coast on Tuesday and may not push precipitation into the northern Sierra until as late as Wednesday night or Thursday morning with the southerly flow and splitting of the storm as it moves inland. That will bring the heaviest precipitation down the CA coast and into the foothills, with shadowing of the heavier precipitation to the east over the Sierra.
Wednesday we should see increasing clouds with stronger winds from the south gusting up to 70-80+ mph over the ridges, which should close some upper mountain lifts. Then the winds turn more southwesterly & decrease on Thursday. Highs into the 40s for the lower elevations Wednesday and 30s for most elevations Thursday.
The snow levels will likely start out very high on Wednesday if any precipitation reaches the mountains during the day, as very warm air is flowing in from the southerly flow ahead of the storm, and the storm is tapping mild subtropical moisture. We may see mainly rain showers up to 8000+ feet. Wednesday night snow levels could slowly fall and finally get close to the base by Thursday morning.
The latest model runs suggest the steadiest precipitation could fall on Thursday as snow levels are near to just above the base in the morning and drop below the base by evening and into Thursday night as the precipitation diminishes. By early Friday morning, we could see around 3-7 inches of new snow at the base and storm totals of around 5-11 inches above 7000 ft. on the upper mountain.
I’ll continue to fine-tune the forecast as the timing of the precipitation and cold air moving in, along with the precipitation amounts that could push over the mountains, will adjust the snowfall forecasts up and down over the next few days if they change.
No big changes to the long-range forecasts. The latest model runs continue to be in fairly good agreement that the trough remains over the southwest through about the 9th of February. It will be hard to get wetter storms with high pressure over the Pacific to the west of the trough.
It could be a colder and unsettled pattern with storms dropping into or spinning up into the trough over SoCal and the southwest. We are to the north and would likely see weak systems or get brushed on the northern edge of storms. It’s possible a storm could bring us some steadier precipitation during the unsettled period, but nothing showing up on the operational models right now.
We should see a colder pattern through much of the period, with the models showing below-average temperatures through the 9th over much of the West, and especially over CA and the Southwest. We will be watching the forecasts closely with the storm door somewhat open for northern CA through the period, to see if a storm could bring us some heavier snowfall. Overall most systems right now look to bring lighter snowfall.