Weekend Forecast, 2/6/2016 – 2/7/2016:
From Dan Tackett, Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol Meteorologist Extraordinaire
Updated Thursday, February 4th, 10:05 pm
As expected, last weekend’s storm event proved difficult to forecast. Nearly 5 inches of rain fell at Sugar Bowl before changing to snow around 2 am on Saturday morning. By the time the snow levels lowered, the strong moisture that brought the impressive rains were beginning to wane. Snow continued into the first half of the morning, but accumulations were limited to less than 5 inches. Not much activity occurred for the rest of Saturday, but the cooler air mass finally kept the rain from returning. A system expected to trek south of Sugar Bowl on Sunday wrapped into an area of low pressure over Nevada. This allowed better accumulations than expected thanks to moisture and energy that wrapped around the low and into Sugar Bowl. This type of set-up can bring heavier snow to the normally dry areas of Nevada, as was represented by 7 inches at the Reno airport and over a foot in the dry, high desert town of Tonopah.
Monday dawned clear and cold with temperatures in the upper single digits to low teens and wind chills well below zero thanks to brisk northeasterly winds, quite a contrast to the 9000 foot snow levels on Friday. A weak storm quickly moved through on Tuesday to bring another couple of inches. A Wednesday cold front moving onshore was completely eviscerated as it moved inland and had nothing left by the time it reached the Northern Sierra.
A high pressure ridge slowly building on Thursday will bring a stretch of dry weather for at least the next 7 days. Weather systems will trek onshore in the Pacific Northwest through Saturday morning, but only a few high clouds will reach our area. The high pressure ridge will strengthen further on Sunday to bounce the storm track all the way into Canada. For the first time in quite a spell, it will be a quiet and dry weekend on the slopes. The strong high pressure ridge will push temperatures on Sunday into the 40s to around 50, very mild for early February.
Dry and mild weather will continue through most of next week. Longer range models have a system moving onshore around Friday or Saturday of the holiday weekend. However, the exact track into the West Coast has not yet been determined.
The official Sierra snowpack measurement took place on Tuesday near Echo Summit and found that we’re 130% of normal. The automated snow gauge system sprinkled throughout the entire Sierra range averaged about 111% of normal. However, with very little snow so far and expected for the first half of February, those numbers will be dropping. We’ll be hoping for stronger storms during the second half of the month to drive the numbers back up again and ease the drought.
Sugar Bowl Snow Depths as of Wednesday morning, February 3rd:
Station A (near the base of Crow’s Nest Chair): 62 inches. Last year at this time: 6 inches.
Station B (between Calif St & Station B runs): 129 inches. Last year at this time: 42 inches.
Current Truckee River Drainage Snowpack Water Equivalent: 110%
Weekend Forecast for 2/6/2016-2/7/2016:
Mostly sunny on Saturday. Lows in the 20s to around 30, highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s. Light morning easterly winds.
Mostly sunny on Sunday. Lows in the mid 20s to low 30s, highs in the 40s to around 50. Light winds.
Weekend Travel Weather:
No weather related road problems throughout the weekend.
Dry through Thursday, then a possible pattern change.
Have a Great Weekend,