Monday – Tuesday:
We’ll see partly-mostly sunny skies through Tuesday with highs into the 40s.
Two fast-moving storms trying to move east into the West Coast this week are going to weaken with much less precipitation reaching the Sierra than what the storms have as they approach the West Coast, and snow levels will start high with both.
For Wednesday, we’ll have clouds and winds increasing throughout the day. Highs are still in the 40s near the base and 30s for the upper mountain. Southwest winds gusting up to 60-70+ mph over the ridges, which could close some upper mountain lifts.
The precipitation is still expected to reach the northern Sierra by late afternoon/evening and should clear out by Thursday morning. The precipitation forecasts continue to trend downward slightly as the storm gets closer.
The latest model runs also continue to show a trend toward a warmer storm with the heaviest precipitation and coldest air staying farther northwest. Snow levels may start up around 8000-8500 ft. and only fall to around 7000-7500 ft. at their lowest point.
That means we now expect only rain showers for the elevations near the base up to 7000 ft. Above 7000 ft. we’ll see some rain and snow with low snow ratios. We could see a coating up to 2 inches of snow on the upper mountain, maybe up to 3 on the highest peaks.
Thursday – Friday:
We clear out for Thursday with partly sunny skies and lighter winds. Highs into the 40s near the base and 30s for the upper mountain. Friday we could start with partly sunny skies with some clouds increasing later in the day. Highs in the 40s again.
The latest model runs have pushed most of the precipitation for the next storm into the day on Saturday. Precipitation from the weakening system could reach the Sierra by the early morning hours and clear out Saturday night.
Some of the models have trended a bit wetter with this storm, but also warmer. The snow levels could start up around 7000-7500 ft. this time and then could drop to 6000-6500 ft. by the end Saturday afternoon as colder air pushes in. That is close to the base.
We could see a coating up to 2 inches near the base and 2-6 inches of snow on the mountain by Saturday night.
New Year’s Eve – Day:
It still looks fairly dry for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with highs in the 30s. A few weather models suggest a weak system could bring a few snow showers on New Year’s Day, so I’ll keep an eye on that.
For the rest of the first week of January, we look to have a pattern shift with the ridge moving northwest into Canada and the Pacific NW, and troughing underneath across the southern U.S. The jet stream forecast still looks pretty weak through the week, and there isn’t a trough in the northeast Pacific for storms to spin up in, so we may only see weak systems if any move through CA.
The long-range forecasts continue to show ridging south of the Aleutians and over Greenland by the 8th, and troughing over the West Coast. A better pattern for storms to spin up into the trough and into CA.
The operational models aren’t consistently showing any significant storms yet. We’ll just have to keep watching the trends with the potential pattern change over the next week, and hopefully, something will give and we will have some decent storms to forecast by the first week of January for the second week.
Merry Christmas! BA