Weekend Forecast, 3/25/2017 – 3/26/2017:
From Dan Tackett, Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol Meteorologist Extraordinaire
Updated Thursday, March 23rd, 3:20 pm
Hard to believe we are approaching the last weekend of March. The second half of the month has proved to be more unstable than most of the first half, nothing extreme like January and February, mostly weather systems in the weak to average category. The weather turned from sunny and warm to cloudy and just a tad cooler last Saturday. A weakening Pacific Northwest system managed to squeeze out a few rain showers, but nothing heavy. Sunday proved to be mostly cloudy, but dynamics were too dismal to produce precipitation.
A moderate system approached on Monday, the first official day of spring, with a little snow falling in the evening. Unfortunately, increasing southerly winds brought the snow levels back up and produced mostly a rain event overnight. Snow returned to the slopes just before dawn on Tuesday and brought a few inches of accumulations through the morning. After a break in the afternoon and evening, snow picked up again in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday to add another several inches. Activity decreased in the late afternoon as the last of the system drifted out over Nevada. Temperatures cooled into the mid 20s to around 30, producing the chilliest day since March 6th.
A quiet day for Thursday as Northern California lies in a break between systems. The next moderate system quickly approaches on Friday to bring snow chances for the morning, becoming likely in the afternoon and overnight. The system will give the Bay Area a very good soaking, but the dynamics weaken as the moisture treks inland. It won’t be a total bust, accumulations are expected in the 6-12 inch range by sunrise Saturday. It will be another cool, late March day with southwest winds becoming very gusty at times on the ridges.
The storm begins to wrap up in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday. Other than morning snow showers, not much activity is expected through the day and Saturday night. Additional daytime accumulations are expected to be an inch or less, with most falling just after sunrise. With winds decreasing and fresh snow on the ground, it will culminate into a very nice ski day.
Clouds quickly increase on Sunday as another system approaches. This version will produce accumulations in the light to possibly moderate range, with the majority falling after dark. Afternoon snow showers may begin to pop up, but accumulations will be minimal during the daylight hours. By sunrise Monday, accumulations are expected in the 4-8 inch range. Southwest winds will be on the increase, but less dynamics will keep them moderate.
Snow showers may linger into Monday morning, then the storm track begins to drift back into the Pacific Northwest. Our region will lie on the very southern boundary of precipitation chances, but little or none in the way of activity are expected. Temperatures begin to trend more mild, but not quite to spring-like conditions yet.
Sugar Bowl Snow Depths as of Thursday, March 23rd:
Station A near the base: 114 inches. Last year at this time: 63 inches.
Station B mid-mountain: 207 inches. Last year at this time: 175 inches.
Current Truckee River Drainage Snowpack Water Equivalent to Normal: 190%
Weekend forecast for 3/25/2017-3/26/2017:
A chance of morning snow showers on Saturday, then clouds decreasing later in the day. Daytime accumulations an inch or less. Lows in the 20s, highs in the low to mid 30s. Morning southwest winds to 10 mph, to 40 mph on the ridges with higher gusts, decreasing in the afternoon.
Increasing clouds on Sunday with a chance of afternoon snow showers. Accumulations before sunset are an inch or less. Lows in the 20s, highs in the 30s, falling with the onset of any snow. Afternoon southwest winds to 15 mph, to 45 mph on the ridges with higher gusts.
Weekend Travel Weather:
The drive up the mountain on Friday will likely have the most weekend risk of snow and possible chain controls. Lingering snow showers may keep slippery roads going early Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning will present no weather related road problems. Any snow showers on Sunday before sunset aren’t expected to stick to the spring-warmed roads.
Precipitation activity becomes minimal as a high pressure ridge building up from the south will push the storm track into the Pacific Northwest.
Have a Great Weekend.