Weekend Forecast, 5/6/2017 – 5/7/2017:
From Dan Tackett, Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol Meteorologist Extraordinaire
Updated Thursday, May 4th, 3:05 pm
For only the second time since I started the weekend forecasts, I’m providing an update in May. Although the huge snowpack will be around for quite a bit longer, the warmer temperatures present challenges. No matter the depth of the snow, the surface can get quite soggy, especially in conditions we’ve seen the first half of this week. The season’s first “heat wave” brought temperatures to near 70 degrees on Wednesday, with Thursday’s temperatures not that far off. The high pressure ridge that brought the warm conditions is beginning to shift eastward, while a low pressure trough in the Eastern Pacific is approaching the Northern California coast. A slight increase in moisture for Thursday afternoon is expected to allow a very summer-like pattern of cloud build ups that could develop into showers and thunderstorms. However, as of 2 pm, cloud build ups are minimal. The incoming moisture might arrive too late for widespread showers, just very scattered ones.
Scattered clouds and increasing southwest winds on Friday as the low pressure trough advances closer to the slopes. Shower and thunderstorm activity is expected to be limited due to the moderate southwest winds. They will continually blow the build-ups to the east, making it difficult for them to reach their full potential. Any rain showers that develop will be widely scattered and thunderstorm chances will be very slim. Daytime temperatures cool into the mid 40s to low 50s. Southwest ridge winds will be up to 40 mph and sometimes gusty.
After the warmth of Thursday, there will be a chill for Saturday as a cutoff area of low pressure swings out of the low pressure trough and into Central California. Moisture from the system will migrate up from the south and wrap into the Northern Sierra. Mostly cloudy with rain shower chances in the morning. Instability increases in the afternoon as colder upper level temperatures arrive. Shower chances in the afternoon could take one or more of several precipitation forms; rain, snow pellets (graupel), hail or snow. Thunderstorm chances are still present from this dynamic system. Snow chances in the late afternoon and overnight could provide accumulations by sunrise Sunday. If the center of the low is relatively close, accumulations could range from 2-5 inches, if the location of the low is not favorable, a trace to 2 inches are expected. Daytime temperatures only in the 30s, around 25-30 degrees less than Wednesday/Thursday. Winds are expected to be relatively light.
The low pressure center is expected to drift further south on Sunday. Snow shower chances decrease through the day with little or no accumulations expected. Temperatures will remain very cool, again, mostly in the 30s.
The following week will be relatively cool with a chance of rain showers on Monday and then again on Wednesday as another low pressure trough approaches.
I have no idea how the weather this summer will turn out. Long range forecasts are nearly impossible to nail down. No one could have predicted the record precipitation season we just experienced. One thing certain, the current snowpack will be on the ground well into the summer and possibly beyond.
This is my final forecast for the season. I hope everyone found the reports helpful and informative. In just a blink of an eye, it will be time to start them again in November.
Sugar Bowl Snow Depths as of Sunday, April 30th:
Station A near the base: 105 inches. Last year at this time: Resort closed.
Station B mid-mountain: 208 inches. Last year at this time: Resort closed.
Current Truckee River Drainage Snowpack Water Equivalent to Normal: 261%
Weekend forecast for 5/6/2017-5/7/2017:
Mostly cloudy on Saturday with a chance of morning rain showers. Cooler in the afternoon with scattered showers and a possible thunderstorm with rain, snow, graupel or hail. Lows in the low to mid 30s, highs in the 30s. South to southeast ridge winds to 30 mph, light elsewhere.
Mostly cloudy on Sunday with chances of snow showers. No daytime accumulations are expected. Lows in the mid 20s to around 30, highs in the 30s. Light winds.
Weekend Travel Weather:
Occasional wet roads throughout the weekend. Roads have warmed significantly this week and any snowfall will melt off immediately.
Unsettled and relatively cool next week, then we coast into summer.
Have a Great Summer Season,