SnowBrains Forecast: Unusually Deep Snow for Southern California, Arizona

Nathan Tarino | | WeatherWeather
Model snow output for the upcoming dump. Courtesy of WeatherNerds.

Forecast By SnowBrains Meteorologist Nathan Tarino

Updated 10 PM MST 2/22

Forecast Summary

A powerful upper low is diving southward along the West Coast today. This feature will foster a prolonged period of unstable west-southwesterly flow to the Southwest and accumulating snow across the Mogollon Rim in Arizona and the Transverse and Santa Rosa Mountains in California.

Snow will begin in earnest Tuesday night. Snow showers will continue through Wednesday in California, persisting into early Thursday morning along the Mogollon Rim. Near LA, good turns will be found on Wednesday at Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, and Snow Valley. The Arizona Snowbowl will benefit from its high elevation and pull down the best totals in the state.

While skiers enjoy some rare soft turns in Southern California, Arizona resorts will be getting buried. America’s southernmost ski resort – Mt. Lemmon (near Tucson, AZ) – has suspended operations until more snow falls. This storm could be the ticket to reviving the season.

Short Term

Snow has begun already in the highest peaks as Pacific moisture is forced upslope. Expect this to continue through the night and into Wednesday morning, as snow levels fall to 3000′ in California and 4000′ across Arizona.

By the time the storm breaks late Wednesday, I expect some unusually heavy accumulations across the region.

In California:

  • Snow Valley, Bear Mountain, Snow Summit – 5-10
  • Resorts west of Cajon Pass – 2-5

In Arizona:

  • Arizona Snowbowl – 12-20
  • Mt. Lemmon – 5-9
  • Sunrise Park – 8-14

Most of the snow will fall Tuesday night, with the best skiing on Wednesday. Conditions should hold strong through the rest of the workweek, as cool temperatures aloft keep the new snow cold and fast.

Extended Outlook

There really are no powder prospects in the long-range. But I’m not sure who cares. If you live in Los Angeles, you’ll be able to watch the newly snowcapped mountains emerge as the storm breaks on Wednesday. How cool is that? And if you live in Arizona, your hill is getting dumped on.

Let’s call it a win.

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