Weather Forecast

Weekend Forecast, 3/21/2015 – 3/22/2015:

From Dan Tackett, Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol Meteorologist Extraordinaire

Updated Thursday, March 19th, 10:55 am

Greetings,

Discussion:
It’s hard to believe that this is the last forecast of the season and it’s still officially winter.  Spring doesn’t begin until 3:45 pm on Friday.  Of course, the weather has been spring-like for far too many days since January.  The Central Sierra Snow Lab, just down the road from Sugar Bowl, officially recorded 0 inches of snow on the ground earlier this week.  They started back in 1946 and this is the first time they recorded a snowless surface in the month of March.  Normally, the Sierra snowpack is at its maximum depth this time of year.  In late March of 2011, the Snow Lab had 17 feet on the ground.  The Sierra Nevada is truly a land of extremes.

Above normal temperatures (the norm this season) were again present last weekend on the slopes.  Despite the occasional clouds, temperatures on Saturday were well into the 50s.  Record high temperatures were broken that day all over California.  Some of those record temperatures exceeded the warmest March day of all time in some cities.  Temperatures have been cooler the last couple days, down into the mid 40s to low 50s, but still above normal.  Under bright sunny skies on Thursday, temperatures will bounce back into the mid 50s.

High clouds will increase on Friday as a weakening cold front approaches Northern California.  The system will wash out to our north and not bring precipitation to Sugar Bowl, but it will cool temperatures for the weekend and bring breezy southwest winds.  Expect clouds on Saturday morning with partly cloudy conditions later in the day.  Morning southwest winds will be up to 30 mph on the ridges, but will slowly decrease.  High temperatures will mostly be in the 40s.

Clouds increase on Sunday as another cold front attempts to break through the high pressure ridge.  This one is expected to have more success and actually bring light accumulations on Monday.  Sunday will be dry, but southwest winds will be on the increase and become gusty on the ridges by the afternoon.  High temperatures will again be in the 40s.  The first chance of rain or snow showers will not occur until Sunday night.  Snow levels are expected to lower to just below the resort by sunrise Monday.

The system on Monday could possibly bring accumulations of 2-5 inches.  However, with the high pressure ridge building back in on Tuesday and warming temperatures for the rest of the week, don’t expect those new accumulations to hang around long.

The drought has definitely reached an epic level.  Even though we said the same thing last year, we can only hope to turn things around next season.  I’ve enjoyed another season of sharing my forecasting skills, sorry about the frequent bad news.  With a fresh start next November, I’ll try to deliver good news.

Sugar Bowl Snow Depths as of Thursday morning, March 19th:
Station A (near the base of Crow’s Nest Chair): 6 inches.  Last year at this time: 6 inches.
Station B (between Calif St & Station B runs): 48 inches.  Last year at this time: 77 inches.
Current Truckee River Drainage Snowpack Water Equivalent:  26%

Weekend Forecast for 3/21/2015-3/22/2015:
Mostly cloudy on Saturday morning, then partly cloudy in the afternoon.  Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s, highs in the 40s.  Morning southwest winds to 15 mph, to 30 mph on the ridges with higher gusts.

Increasing clouds and breezy on Sunday.  Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s, highs in the 40s.  Afternoon southwest winds to 20 mph, to 45 mph on the ridges with higher gusts.

Weekend Travel Weather:
Road conditions will be clear through Sunday evening.  Not until the early morning hours of Monday could the roads start becoming slippery.

Extended:
Light accumulations Monday, cool Tuesday, sunny and warmer beginning on Wednesday.

Have a Great Weekend and a Great Summer,
Dan

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