SNORKEL ALERT- SIERRA! 3-4 FEET LIKELY IN 24-36 HOURS
Quick updates are usually broadcasted while in chase mode. Today featured a glimmer of hope for Mammoth to open upper mountain (1-2 feet of blower) where skies went “bluebird” by 10 AM. That opened up hope as patrol began extensive avalanche mitigation on the upper mountain. The line at the mid station Gondola started around 11 AM. Chair 23 (Old and one of my scariest rides in N. America) was rumored to be frozen with mechanical issues (That’s the norm). At 1 PM the upper mountain was about to pop (excitement was growing) when clouds scurried over the ridge tops (We saw it coming looking towards the valley). The bad news came at 1:15! “no upper mountain” My stomach dropped as it would have been the most epic conditions of the year (Cold blower).
First tracks this morning at Mammoth:
If your chasing to California expect 11-18 inches Thursday night (Highest amounts will be in the northern areas especially near I-80). Friday will feature an additional 7-16 inches by 5PM. Snow intensity has me worried that many resorts may not open on Friday or have limited terrain. Less avalanche prone terrain will most likely open. The good news is that cold temps should mitigate avalanche concerns somewhat. Winds will be moderate to strong so temporary lift holds are likely. Its worth the wait for those chairs to spin (If it happens). In the southern Sierra near Mammoth amounts will be in the 9-15 inch range by Friday morning with continued moderate snow during the day. Snow may pick up late Friday into Saturday as higher intensity snowfall moves south (Mammoth).
Snow will be tapering in the north Friday night (Showers continue) while continuing moderately over Mammoth. Saturday will feature additional light snow for the northern Sierra while Mammoth may see a temporary break late AM through early PM (Not sure if it’s enough to open upper mountain). Snow showers may increase Saturday night before finally winding down on Sunday (Both Saturday and Sunday should see new terrain openings). Clearing is expected on Sunday.
In Colorado forecasts are calling for 5-10 inches. I am skeptical. Models display higher odds of deeper snow north of I-70. Look for spots near Winter Park, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park to see these amounts by late Friday morning. Other spots in Summit County should see less. In the south it’s possible that Crested Butte or areas of the San Juans score 4-8 inches for Friday.
The long range outlook shows some significant moisture entering the Sierra by Thursday next week. Temps are warm initially with cold air late in the week. This potent system should move over the Rockies late next week into next Saturday (Utah and Colorado may score).
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