California “Super Storm” Set to Engage Tonight | 100″ Forecasted by the Weekend

Clay Malott | | WeatherWeather
Snow water equivalent map showing total forecasted precipitation for California over the next week. Multiply by about 14 to get approximate snow totals. Photo credit: UCAR AWIPS

The long-rumored California superstorm made landfall earlier yesterday, starting by the Canadian border and slowly moving South along the Pacific coast. Moisture has continued to move inland throughout the day, and the first flakes were poised to fall at about 9 pm PST.

By the time resorts open today (1/27), most resorts are looking at about 12-15 inches. Snow will continue to fall heavily throughout the day, depositing about 6 inches over the course of the ski day. Free refills, anyone?!

The snow will continue well into Wednesday night. From the time the resorts close until opening on Thursday, most resorts in the Tahoe area are expected to receive about 25 inches of snow. Local totals may be as high as 30″ or more. Snow showers will continue throughout the day, expect day-time snow totals to be upwards of 8 inches and as high as 10″.

By Thursday night, the storm starts to fizzle out, and resorts may “only” see about 6-8 inches. Snow accumulation during the ski day on Friday likely won’t exceed 2-3 inches.

Overall, most resorts in the Tahoe Basin should see upwards of 60-70″. Wind loading means leeward slopes could see much more. Kirkwood is forecasted to receive the most out of any other resort in Tahoe, with a whopping 100″ forecasted going into the weekend. Mammoth will do even better, with nearly 120″ by Saturday morning.

For powder chasing advice, the best I can give is to stay away from the eastern flanks of the Sierra. Orographic lift will favor western mountains a lot more in this cycle. The storm is also forecasted to concentrate most of its energy further south, hence resorts like Kirkwood and Sierra-At-Tahoe forecasted to get more snow. Even a difference of a few miles, like Alpine Meadows vs Squaw, may yield slightly larger totals at southern resorts.

For more snow forecast updates, follow my on my Twitter.

Have fun, and be safe! 

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