The Cold Is Our Friend…
Update Saturday Morning:
Adjusted the snowfall forecast slightly. Models are in good agreement now on Wednesday system. My current forecast for the mountains above 7000 ft. is 2-5 inches Monday and 5-10 inches Wednesday. Maybe up to 15 inches along the crest Wednesday. Lake level is 1-3 inches and 3-6 inches. More tonight…BA
I don’t get out much during the Winter as I am either at the day job, in front of the computer looking at weather, or chasing the kids around. When it snows I make time to get the powder.
The past 2 days I traveled around the lake speaking at the Rotary clubs in South Lake and Truckee, and stopping into the ski resorts at Squaw, Northstar, Heavenly, and Sierra to visit. It was nice to get out and talk with everyone about the season and the weather. It’s always interesting to talk to people that have lived here longer than I have been alive. I got to hear stories of 1977 when you could hike through the forest on dry ground and cut firewood all Winter.
I will get into our snowfall chances for next week (which are increasing) in a minute, but here is a quote from the Sacramento Bee sent to me by a reader. I thought it was interesting.
“The National Weather Service noted on its website today that since 1878 in Sacramento there have been 25 months of February with an inch or less of rain.
The following March in 23 of those 25 cases was wetter than usual. The average March precipitation following the dry months of February was 2.54 inches, forecasters stated.
The biggest recent turn around from dry February to drenched March occurred in 1995. That year, Sacramento received only .19 of an inch of rain in February – followed by 7.84 inches of rain in March.”
So a little history on our side now as well. The cold for the weekend has been well advertised as we will drop into the 20′s and 30′s for highs up on the mountains through next week and teens at night. That doesn’t do much for us this weekend as the wind tonight into Saturday will be howling as if we are getting a big storm but at most we will get a flake or two. It will make for some cold wind chills on Saturday if you are on the mountains so layer up.
The cold is going to be our friend though as some weak systems moves through next week. Limited moisture can stil bring decent snow when you have 20:1 snow:water ratios. The first weak system will dive in on Monday and into Monday night. It will reinforce the cold air and will bring some light precip to the Sierra. We could see 1-3 inches at the lake and 2-5 inches on the mountains. This will be the kind of blower pow that blows away when you carve and you still scrape down to the glacier snow underneath.
The next system moves in on Wednesday and is another cold storm with high snow ratios. The European and its ensemble members have been consistent with a quarter to a half of an inch of liquid all week as I have been stating. The Canadian has been agreeing and now the 0z and 12z GFS model runs have chimed in. The GFS tends to be like my cousin Tim (we call him Sloth), always late to the party.
Confidence is building with each model run that shows the same amount of liquid. This would bring 3-6 inches at the lake with 5-10 inches above 7000 ft., and 10-15 inches along the crest by Thursday morning. This is just beyond my 5 day window that I like to put out an exact snowfall forecast, so it’s still a 50/50 chance so don’t throw a party yet.
In the long-range we are seeing some retrogression of the ridge briefly out to 150w and then back towards the coast. The first time a cold trough could drop in with cold and snow the weekend of the 4th and then again the weekend of the 10th. I would like to see the ridge shift back toward 160w to get some bigger storms. This should happen over the next couple of weeks but as I mentioned yesterday you can see on the right sidebar that the MJO is still stuck in early phase 2 and it needs to keep moving into phase 3 to help get us in a better pattern for big storms. The forecast continues to show that happening in March. BA
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