Monday – Tuesday Storm:
Rain showers are moving in Monday morning. We will see rain and high-elevation snow Monday into Tuesday, with snow levels slowly lowering into Tuesday night, but possibly staying above the base for the entire storm.
Increasing southwest winds with gusts up to 60-70+ mph over the exposed ridges by Monday afternoon and then coming down slowly through the day on Tuesday. Highs in the 30s on the mountain both days.
Snow levels are going to be high as the precipitation starts to move in Monday morning, up around 9000-9500 ft. Then dropping to around 8000-8500 ft. during the day on Monday, 7500-8000 ft. by Tuesday morning, 7000-7500 ft. Tuesday, and bottoming out around 6500-7000 ft. Tuesday Tuesday night.
That means mainly all rain is expected for the base. Between 7000-8000 ft. we expect mostly rain Monday and then some wet snow Tuesday, with 1-6 inches of snow possible by Wednesday morning. The higher amounts closer to 8000 ft. Above 8k’ we could see 6-14 inches of base-building snow, with the highest amounts up on the peaks.
Wednesday – Thursday:
We could see some scattered rain and high-elevation snow showers Wednesday, but the next low dropping down the coast will shift most of the precipitation to our south through the day. Then drier for Thursday with partly sunny skies. Highs in the 40s on both days for the lower elevations near the base, and 30s for the upper mountain.
The latest model runs are still not in agreement on whether a weaker but colder system could track far enough south to brush us with snow showers on Friday. We’ll continue to watch the trends. If the storm does reach us, we will likely only see a high end of 1-3 inches of snow on the mountain. Highs will cool into the 30s.
For the upcoming holiday weekend, the latest model runs continue to show a drier pattern. Partly-mostly sunny skies both Saturday and Christmas Eve, with highs into the 30s. Lows in the teens for the lower mountain which is good news for snowmaking after we could lose some snow at the base this week from rain.
The trend on the long-range models over the last few days is to slow the arrival of the next storm, with the initial systems trying to move in not only being slowed but tracking north and weakening. That trend continues today with the latest model runs now not showing the first storm reaching the Sierra until around the 27th-28th.
That means we could stay dry through the 26th, with a dry Christmas and possibly a decent travel day the day after. Then we’ll continue to watch the trends for the system that could bring snow around the 27th-28th, and we’ll hope the trends aren’t continuing to push storms out farther.
As we get toward the end of the month and into the start of January, the latest model runs continue to show the trough trending a bit west away from the coast with the Pacific jet stream weakening and retracting a bit. That could make it harder to see any wetter storms by the end of the year.
The long-range models have been showing positive signals for a more active pattern beyond the 25th for the last 2 weeks. They still suggest a wetter and more active pattern the last 5 days of the month into January, and we could still see a stronger storm during the period, but we’ll continue to be skeptical of anything more than a week out.