Conditions are just right for a major weather event for the entire west coast. Here is the latest satellite imagery:
The models are still all over the place as to exactly the area of the Sierra that gets hit the hardest. The potential for flooding is very real, as this is a very warm storm. Estimates are ranging from 7,000 - 8,000 feet as the snow level. I believe 7,000 is pretty accurate for the Tahoe area.
I am also sticking with yesterday's post that the brunt of the storm will hit in the Central Sierra just to the south of Lake Tahoe. The folks in Mammoth should brace for an amazing week of weather starting tomorrow. That is not to say that Tahoe is off the hook. Right now I believe the bulls eye is just south. The Tahoe Sierra is going to see a tremendous amount of snow. Check yesterday's post to get an idea of how much and when.
Coming Storms (12/26 - 12/30)
Looking ahead, we will get a slight break, however a similar pattern looks to be starting up around Christmas and lasting for another week or so. Here is a look at the GFS forecast for 12/28:
Flooding and Avalanches
Needless to say, with the soil already saturated through most of California, there is going to be major flooding throughout the state as the storm machine continues to crank. In addition, up in the Sierra, with this amount of snow, the danger for avalanche is going to be extreme. All back country enthusiasts need to check this site before heading out:
Sierra Avalanche Center
Amazingly, the danger is low to moderate right now, but that will change as feet upon feet pile up. What I saw in the Mt. Rose Chutes yesterday told me that the snow pack was very unstable. Every Chute seemed to have a major slide. Search and Rescue is going to have a very busy 3 weeks coming up. Be smart and be careful.
Mt. Rose Chutes
I talked with Ski Patrol yesterday and they laid out the rules for when to enter the Chutes and where. Not following these rules could put your season pass at risk. If you have any questions talk with Mike Ferrari at the Mt. Rose Ski Patrol. Here are the rules in a nutshell:
- Only enter the Chutes through the designated gates. Going under the rope is prohibited in all circumstances.
- When Ski Patrol is opening the Chutes, all gates are opened simultaneously. The Ski Patrol dispatches individuals to each gate. They synch up by radio and open all the gates at exactly the same time.
- If you enter the Chutes while the gates are closed, you will be caught and will have to suffer the consequences. They have a ZERO Tolerance policy.
- These rules are in place for your safety. They do not want skiers or riders in the Chutes while they are throwing bombs. That makes for a bad combination.
Stay Tuned ...