Sunday – Tuesday Weather:
After the gusty northeast winds Saturday morning, we continue our nicer weather Sunday through Tuesday. Partly-mostly sunny skies are expected each day. Highs in the 40s for the lower elevations and 30s for the upper elevations.
Wednesday could see partly sunny skies but with increasing southwest winds ahead of the next system. Ridgetop winds could be gusting up to 50-60+ mph, which could affect some exposed upper mountain lifts. Highs are still in the 40s for the lower elevations and 30s for the higher elevations.
Wednesday Night – Thursday Storm:
We’ve been watching a weak system the models have been showing moving through around Thursday, but for most of the week, most of the models were keeping this storm just to our north with us only getting brushed by a few showers. Over the last two days, most of the other models have been trending this system wetter and farther south.
They have snow moving in by later Wednesday evening through the day on Thursday, and clearing out Thursday night. The precipitation forecasts have a huge range as the outliers show as little as 0.01 inches of precipitation on the low end and up to 2 inches on the high end. Very frustrating to try to make a forecast with a big range like that.
Overall this morning, the models are showing snow levels starting around 6000-6500 ft. Wednesday evening and falling to around 5300-5800 ft. early Thursday morning, and then rising to around 6300-6800 ft. by Thursday evening. If that holds it could be cold enough at the base for a few inches of snow before turning to rain by the end.
Taking an average of the model forecasts for precipitation, we could see around 2-5 inches of snow near the base by Thursday night, and 3-9 inches on the mountain from bottom to top. We will have to fine-tune this over the next few days.
The weather could still be unsettled on Friday. But we could see some sun with scattered showers around. Highs back near 40 degrees at lake level and 30s on the mountains.
The next storm is still on track to try and move in on Saturday. Saturday looks like a windy and unsettled day with ridgetop winds likely up to 60+ mph, with some lifts being affected. How much precipitation we see is still in question. Some models show southerly flow and less precipitation reaching the Sierra.
Snow levels will likely be above 7000 ft. for the storm with rain at the base and wet snow for the upper mountain. We’ll be fine-tuning the precipitation forecasts all week and looking at potential snowfall amounts once the storms are within the 5-day storm window.
Sunday could be unsettled but still looks to be a bit of a break before the next storm moves in for Monday the 19th into Tuesday the 20th. This storm looks to be longer, wetter, and colder. It has the potential to bring some significant snowfall to the base if it holds together. We’ll be tracking these storms all week.
The long-range models continue to show the jet stream weakening and retracting beyond the 20th with the active pattern diminishing later next week.
The pattern is starting to look a little more interesting for the last week of February as the models are showing a negative PNA pattern developing. That is a colder West Coast trough pattern, which could open the door to colder storms dropping into the trough from the northwest.
That would be the first time we’ve seen this type of pattern since the first half of January. That is also the only period this winter that we saw a series of colder storms with lighter-density snow.
We’ll continue to watch the trends closely as we get later into the month. This is a pattern I always favor for good snow and powder days versus the extended jet stream patterns that usually bring warmer and sometimes splitting storms.