Weekend Forecast, 12/10/2016 – 12/11/2016:
From Dan Tackett, Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol Meteorologist Extraordinaire
Updated Thursday, December 8th, 10:20 pm
A cool, dry pattern last weekend will turn a full 180 for the weekend ahead. Chilly temperatures last weekend and into early this week were common, but the air mass was too dry to produce any accumulations. Wednesday morning temperatures in the low to mid teens were soon to be replaced by a moisture plume stretching from the West Coast to the Hawaiian Islands. With cold air still in place, the leading edge of the plume produced 2-4 inches of snow in the afternoon and evening. Overnight, the temperatures began a steady climb, along with the snow levels.
Snow levels were up to 7000 feet early Thursday, then climbed to around 8000 feet during the day. Although the sub-tropical plume held abundant moisture, dynamics were weak and only light to moderate precipitation fell through the day, mostly in the form of rain. Activity become very quiet Thursday night with a brief break in the plume. Temperatures mostly in the low to mid 30s.
Scattered precipitation chances Friday morning, becoming more steady later in the day. Mostly a rain event during the daylight hours with temperatures in the low to mid 30s. Traces of snow are possible on the highest slopes. Southwest winds gusty on the ridges.
The forecast becomes very tricky Friday night into Saturday. The moisture plume will drive moderate to heavy precipitation during the period with snow levels varying from 7000 to 8000 feet. Periods of heavy precipitation may drive snow levels low enough for accumulations on the lower slopes, especially in the overnight hours, but light precipitation periods will raise the snow levels back up. The range of accumulations by Saturday morning on the lower slopes are from none to a few inches, while several inches of wet snow may accumulate higher up. However, the slightest fluctuations in the snow levels could all but prevent accumulations or surprise us. Temperatures early Saturday morning in the low 30s.
Precipitation continues through the day on Saturday as snow levels continue to waver around 7500 feet. Temperatures cool enough after dark to finally drop the snow levels to below the resort with light accumulations possible on the lower slopes and moderate accumulations on the upper slopes overnight. Daytime temperatures in the low to mid 30s, falling into the upper 20s to around 30 after dark. Morning southwest winds will be gusty, then decrease. Maximum water proof gear will be necessary to get through the day.
Much quieter weather on Sunday as the onshore moisture ends. Conditions will be mostly cloudy as the atmosphere will remain quite moist. A chance of snow showers, but any activity will be very limited. Temperatures mostly in the low to mid 30s with winds becoming light.
Another quiet day is expected on Monday with another plume of moisture moving back in on Tuesday. A little cooler air may shift into Northern California to possibly lower the snow levels to below the resort. The models still have many details to work out, but if the ingredients come together, decent accumulations may occur.
Sugar Bowl Snow Depths as of Thursday, December 8th:
The Base, according to the website: 20 inches
The Summit, according to the website: 30 inches
Current Truckee River Drainage Snowpack Water Equivalent to Normal: 80%
Weekend forecast for 12/10/2016-12/11/2016:
Cloudy on Saturday with mixed precipitation through the day. Some accumulations possible on the upper slopes, not as likely on the lower slopes during daylight hours. Temperatures in the low to mid 30s. Southwest winds to 20 mph, to 50 mph on the ridges with higher gusts, strongest in the morning.
Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a small chance of snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s to around 30, highs in the low to mid 30s. Light winds.
Weekend Travel Weather:
With Friday’s high snow levels, roads are expected to be wet, but not icy. Some slush may occur near the summit after nightfall. Mostly wet roads on Saturday, with some snow on the roads Saturday night. Sunday morning roads potentially slippery with no road problems on Sunday afternoon for the trip off the mountain.
Mostly dry Monday with possible accumulations on Tuesday.
Have a Great Weekend.