Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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Shastafari Rejoice

In the coming days:

  • ~1 ft @ 6000ft, 2.5 ft above 8000ft with wind loading pushing 4ft in choice locations by Saturday.
  • Strong southerly flow will limit spillover and totals in the Sierra and boost them in the Coast Ranges and southern Cascades but all is welcome at this point!

Get psyched for an eventual migration to one of the finest ski runs in all the land! Oh wait, just kidding, how about TWO of the finest ski runs in all the land? Two images both showing 12 hour accumulated precipitation sums it up:

Thank an upstream intensification of Pacific jet momentum just east of the dateline (happened this afternoon). Doh!

The southern Cascades and Northern California reservoirs look to enjoy the gold medal performance. The Sierra Nevada will still enjoy a podium finish, nothing to be ashamed of when you recently have been lurking amongst a series of disappointing boreal winter performances, last week notwithstanding. While the more meridional orientation of the jet will reduce total Sierra awesomeness, we will score a bit lower snow level in trade. This is much needed from both a skiing perspective as well as a hydrologic one.

Keep your eye on places like Lakes Shasta and Oroville at first then turn south to the Central Coast. These places will receive a nice soaking and long-awaited filling as well as some high elevation snow (in the Sierra) to support later season streamflow. Get those soils saturated and produce some runoff! Our favorite descents of Northern California will be stackin' snowflake chips and Saturday morning should show some wonderful satellite views of stratovolcano snow-cones. California is about to get hosed down!

For the central Sierra Nevada, a solid foot of snow at 6000ft will be excellent, with favorable regions of the crest and higher lands seeing highly variable totals in feet  (2-4; watch for some sweet cornices on slightly non-standard aspects) due to crystal advection by everybody's favorite, the turbulent component of the wind! The high elevation faceted layer might just go in a few more heavily loaded places...Although from a general snowpack stability trend standpoint, the past week couldn't have been much better in minimizing continuous basal facet development and contributing to overall cohesion of the now awesome snowpack provided by the "sweet eastern tropical Pacific moisture export" (SETPME).

Your favorite wind pockets will be skiing quite nice due to the stronger winds and lower density snow (by Sierra standards, which is the GOLD standard for general awesomeness. Eagle's Nest. Need I say more?). At lower elevations watch out for the geology underfoot. 
Enjoy a few feet of wind tomorrow and good skiing ahead!


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