Monday, March 31, 2014

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All Aboard, Last Stop, The Sierra

Well we do have one more storm in this wave train. It will impact the Sierra today and through tomorrow night with the heaviest snow tonight. This will be a cold system with a limited moisture connection, so the bust out some bubbly to celebrate champagne powder in April.

The proper way to open champagne (there are many other videos of popping/spraying champagne, but wasn't quite sure they were appropriate...)

Quick and dirty forecast: 12-18" of snow for areas near the crest and further south (Mammoth) with areas east of the crest looking at 6-12" (Mt. Rose, Heavenly, Northstar) (Figure 1). There is an outside chance some areas along the crest at the highest elevations could push 2'. 

Figure 1: HPC 72-hour precipitation forecast. 0.5-1.5" expected by Wednesday night with most of it coming tonight through tomorrow night.

There will be very good lifting (dynamics) with this storm due in part to the very cold air aloft (cold air over warm air, air rises and therefore more snow) (Figure 2). The moisture connection is not nearly as good as this weekend's storm, but convective elements within the storm should help increase snowfall.

Figure 2: 9-10000' ft. winds, heights, temperatures. Breezy but not too windy conditions tonight and tomorrow with very cold temperatures. This means a better snow-to-water ratio and powder conditions.

The first part of the storm will move through this evening with the larger trough and cold air pool moving over the area tomorrow (Figure 3). The heaviest snow will be tonight with lingering snow showers through tomorrow. The southern Sierra will get another round tomorrow night as the trough moves to the south and east.

Figure 3: Mid-level winds, vorticity, and heights. Top image valid tonight and bottom image valid Wednesday morning. Lots of cold air and instability moving across the Sierra in the next 72 hours.

After hearing the great reports yesterday, the stellar conditions look to continue through midweek. So go out and enjoy the next few days! And ride the late (midnight) season train!


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