Weather Forecast

Weekend Forecast, 4/23/2016 – 4/24/2016:

From Dan Tackett, Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol Meteorologist Extraordinaire

Updated Thursday, April 21st, 7:50 pm


Spring was in full force last weekend with bright sunshine and warm temperatures, especially on Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday continued to be warm with temperatures sneaking into the low 60s.  The spring weather set off quite a melt as over 2 feet of snow decreased at the base since the previous week.  I noticed this morning that higher elevation rivers and creeks are running at a strong rate.

Conditions are going to make a strong change as a potent area of low pressure approaches from the northwest on Thursday.  High clouds will begin to filter into Northern California through the day and southwest winds will be on the increase.  Clouds thicken further overnight with precipitation beginning in the pre-dawn hours of Friday.  Initial snow levels may bring rain or a mix at the base before snow levels lower to below the resort later in the day as the main front moves through.  These type of low pressure systems are difficult to pinpoint accumulations as their track determines where the heaviest precipitation will occur.  Most snow is expected to accumulate from late morning into the evening.  Accumulations at the base by midnight Friday are expected in the 3-6 inch range, with 6-12 inches possible on the higher slopes.  Temperatures by Friday afternoon will be all the way down into the upper 20s to around 30, a far cry from the 60 degree readings on Sunday afternoon.

A couple of snow showers may linger early Saturday morning, otherwise Saturday will be dry as a weak area of high pressure quickly rides over Northern California.  Partial clearing later in the day with temperatures in the mid 30s to low 40s.  Winds will drop off to light.

Another area of low pressure approaches on Sunday that will increase clouds.  Although this system is heading to the Great Basin, enough energy will side-swipe the Northern Sierra.  A chance of afternoon snow showers or a mix, becoming more likely overnight.  Light accumulations are possible by sunrise Monday.  Temperatures will remain chilly.

Unsettled and cool conditions will continue next week.  Snow showers on Monday morning with another system bringing precipitation chances on Wednesday.

As we wrap up the season, snow amounts were greatly improved over the last 2 seasons.  However, with April turning out relatively dry and sometimes quite warm, most seasonal precipitation levels have dipped below normal.  Unless there’s the unlikely event of frequent late season storms, despite El Nino conditions, we’ll fall just below average for the season.

Of course, with the resort closing Sunday afternoon, this will be my last forecast for the 2015/2016 season.  I enjoyed having more to do this winter, especially in January and March when the pattern was very active.  We’ll soon move into the summer pattern of mountain thunderstorms now and again, and before we know it, November will be here and the watch for winter storms begin.  Everyone have a wonderful summer!

Sugar Bowl Snow Depths as of Thursday Morning, April 21st:
Station A (near the base of Crow’s Nest Chair): 16 inches.  Last year at this time: Resort Closed.
Station B (between Calif St & Station B runs): 127 inches.  Last year at this time: Resort Closed.
Current Truckee River Drainage Snowpack Water Equivalent:  83%

Weekend Forecast for 4/23/2016-4/24/2016:
A chance of early morning snow showers on Saturday, then partial clearing.  Lows in the 20s, highs in the mid 30s to low 40s.  Light winds.

Increasing clouds on Sunday with a chance of afternoon showers or a mix.  Lows in the upper 20s to low 30s, highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s.  Afternoon southwest winds to 30 mph, light elsewhere.

Weekend Travel Weather:
Although snow tends to quickly melt off roads this time of season, Friday afternoon and evening snow could be heavy enough to cause slush or chains possible around Donner Pass.  Roads should be clear by Saturday morning, but icy spots are very possible.  No weather related road problems Saturday afternoon through Sunday early evening.  Slippery conditions could return late Sunday night.

Snow showers Monday morning, then snow showers or mix return on Wednesday.

Have a Great Weekend and a Great Summer,

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