The first big snow of the season is heading to the Sierra Nevada this weekend, with ski resorts hoping to see up to a foot of fresh snow before the weekend is out.
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...Big Changes in the Weather Pattern for This Weekend... A strong cold front will push through the Sierra and western Nevada on Friday bringing gusty winds, much colder temperatures, and chances for rain and snow showers. This storm does appear to herald in a pattern that may possibly stick around through much of November with the potential for lingering cold temperatures and maybe even additional chances for rain and snow. WINDS: Winds will increase significantly Thursday night into Friday morning with a quick burst of winds that may produce areas of blowing dust, choppy lake conditions, as well as a brief period of fire weather concerns. Gusts up to 45 mph are possible for most areas, with up to 60 mph in wind prone spots, and up to 100 mph for exposed areas along the Sierra Crest. COLD: Afternoon temperatures will drop significantly from Friday to Saturday, with western Nevada and Sierra valleys in the 30s and 40s. Overnight lows will be well below freezing with a few single digit and sub zero readings possible in the colder Sierra valleys. PRECIPITATION: A quick burst of rain and snow is likely behind the cold front Friday with a couple inches of snow possible above 6000 feet. While light snow showers are likely most of the weekend with little accumulation, a second burst of accumulating snow may occur Sunday morning. Sunday is currently the best shot at lower valley snowfall accumulations. If you haven`t put that winter travel kit in your car, then now is the time make it happen. It`s that time of the year where conditions can rapidly change along the Sierra passes so being in tune with all the weather updates as well as Caltrans and NDOT will save you a lot of headaches.
According to the NOAA discussion, precipitation will move into the Sierra early Friday morning with travel impacts from snow likely over Sierra passes and light accumulations probable into the lower Sierra valleys. Current projections are for the upper elevations to pick up a quick 2-4+ inches of snow with a dusting to an inch or so in the lower elevations of the Sierra.
BOTTOM LINE: Be prepared for periods of travel impacts due to snow along the higher elevation highways and Sierra passes through the weekend. Lower elevation travel impacts due to snow may occur by Sunday.
Saturday will be quite cold with brisk northwest winds and continued chances for snow showers across the Sierra. There will be potential for heavier snow showers throughout the day.
Lake Tahoe Resorts could see 6-12″ and Mammoth Mountain, who’s opening day is just nine days away, could see 6-9″, with maybe more higher up.