Foggy, mostly cloudy, and cold today with highs in the 30's. Foggy and partly sunny Tuesday with highs rising into the low 40's at lake level. Wednesday the next storm begins to move in. It will be cloudy and windy with gusts reaching 100 mph on the ridges by late afternoon. Light snow may begin to move in during the afternoon, especially West of the lake along the crest. Wednesday night heavier snowfall will move in and then taper to scattered snow showers Thursday. We could see 5-13 inches at lake level, and 6-16 inches on the mountains by Thursday afternoon. Then a break Thursday night but cold with lows in the 20's. Friday another cold storm moves in with heavy snow into Saturday night. Then tapering to snow showers on Saturday. We could see an additional 6-16 inches at lake level, and 7-22 inches on the mountains by Saturday afternoon. Then a break Saturday night with lows in the 20's. A final cold storm moves in Sunday with heavy snow into Sunday night. Then tapering to snow showers on Monday. We could see an additional 1-2 feet at lake level and 2-3 feet on the mountains. Then a pattern change as high pressure builds in near the West coast. We may see a break in the storms for at least a week starting next Tuesday.
Short Term Forecast
A couple of readers mentioned a 24 hour snowfall record last week. I checked with my official snowfall station the Central Sierra Snow Lab on Donner Summit. They reported that we saw 35 inches of snow in 24 hours during the big storm last Tuesday. The 24 hour record however is 59 inches, so not even close to the 24 hour record.
We have been dealing with fog in the mornings this week. It is pretty thick around the area again this morning. It has been causing ice on the ski lifts which has been an issue for the lower parts of the mountains at the ski resorts. Today will be colder than originally expected with mostly cloudy skies above the fog, and fog down low. The skies may clear a bit more Tuesday allowing the sun to burn off the fog.
The forecast has not changed much from yesterday. The GFS did continue to elongate the trough as it moves in Wednesday. Some runs were even splitting the storm at it hit the Sierra. The latest run this morning is holding it together better, as well as on the other models. It will get very windy on the mountains Wednesday and then we may see light snow move in during the afternoon. Snow levels look to lower faster, possibly to lake level by evening.
Here is the GFS total precip forecast. You can see better spillover East of the crest this morning.
This will be a fast hitting cold front that moves through Wednesday night. The GFS cuts off precip fast Thursday morning. The European model keeps snow showers going a little longer behind the front Thursday. The European model also moves in snow showers a little faster Wednesday afternoon, so it is wetter than the GFS. Expect a quick shot of several inches overnight Wednesday.
Here is the updated snowfall forecast that did tick up slightly with the lower snow levels and better spillover on the GFS. This is by Thursday afternoon as the storm clears the area.
We should have a break Thursday afternoon into Thursday night but then another cold storm may push in snow during the early morning hours Friday. This storm is colder than the first, and looks a little wetter as well. It will also last a little longer with heavy snow Friday into Friday night, before tapering to snow showers by Saturday morning and then moving out by Saturday afternoon.
Here is the GFS total precip forecast through Saturday.
A break Saturday night is short lived as a final cold storm moves in Sunday. This storm could bring heavy snow Sunday into Sunday night before tapering off to snow showers on Monday, and then clearing out Monday night.
Here is the GFS total precip forecast through Monday.
Too early for specific snowfall numbers, but we could see 1-2 feet at lake level and 2-3 feet on the mountains with this storm if the forecast holds.
So basically 6 days of snow starting Wednesday with 3 storms moving through. It appears that each storm will be progressively colder and wetter. That would bring nice powder to the mountains making for incredible skiing on top of the incredible base we have already.
Extended Forecast Be sure to get out and enjoy the snow over the 6 day period because a pattern change is coming. The latest ensemble runs of the models show that the ridge sit over Western Canada starting next Tuesday and not Alaska yet, with high pressure extending over the Western U.S. That may bring a break in the storms for at least a week starting next Tuesday.
We may see a pattern that finally brings some Winter to the Eastern U.S. with a trough developing there. The AO and NAO are forecast to go negative and the PNA neutral. We could see a trough lock into the East for the end of the month into February and a ridge for the West. Hoping the ridge does shift North and West towards Alaska again so that we can get storms to cut underneath into CA.