Alpine Weather: 3-4 feet into Sat., more next week

0 Comments 24 February 2011

Alpine has already picked up 484 inches on top which is around 108% of the annual snowfall average.   The storm last week was the 3rd largest 4 day storm total in Alpine’s recorded history.  That was on top of the snowiest December on record, and we aren’t done yet.

We have another cold storm beginning to work its way down the coast off of British Columbia today.  That storm is beginning to pull in moisture off of the Pacific as it moves down the West coast.   Snow began falling this morning and it will last into Saturday.  The heaviest snow will fall tonight into the day on Friday.  We could clear out as early as Saturday morning but some models have the storm departing a bit slower and the snowshowers sticking around through the day on Saturday.

If you thought the snow with the last storm was light, wait until you see what is coming.  The cold with this storm will be as big of a story as the snowfall.  Highs in the teens on the mountains Friday and Saturday and lows in the single digits will create snow ratios of 20-30:1.  We are going to get some decent snow totals although we are only working with 1.5-2 inches of liquid.  With snow ratios of 20-30:1 throughout the storm we will have snowfall totals of 2-3 feet at the base, and 3-4+ feet on top.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Alpine hits 5 feet at the summit.

By Sunday & Monday the sun is shining and temps begin to rebound quickly back into the 20′s & 30′s as we get a Southwest flow and a weak ridge ahead of the next storm moving across the Pacific.  The pattern next week will be differen’t than what we have seen the past 2 weeks.  The ridge wants to setup near the Aleutians or maybe even further North over the Bering Sea.  So not only will there be storms coming down the coast from the North, but also from across the Pacific as they can easily pass under the new position of the ridge.

How the storms coming from the two directions interact is the question.  The storms coming from West to East across the Pacific will be able to tap into subtropical moisture so they will be strong and much warmer than the storms we have seen.  The storms coming down from the North will be cold.  It may be the perfect combination as the cold lows from the North can push enough cold into the storms from the West to keep snow levels just at or below lake level.

The models show a train of storms lined up across the Pacific next week, so the way it looks right now we should see a storm every couple of days.   I am still not seeing anything long-term that would stop this pattern.  The next two weeks should be quite stormy with normal Sierra style snow adding to our already impressive totals.  BA

BA The Weather Guru - who has written 30 posts on Ski Alpine Meadows.
The Weather Guru specializes in long range storm forecasting and snowfall predictions for the Tahoe Basin. He studied meteorology at Kean University and has been tracking snowstorms for over 20 years. He considers himself a Hobbyist that is passionate about weather and obsessed with big snowstorms.

Contact the author

Share your view

Post a comment