The Powder Forecast
Powder Forecast –Tuesday, January 4th, 2022
Ted Schlaepfer CCM —- Mammoth Mountain WeatherGuy
Snowfall forecasts are valid at the Sesame snow course (Main Lodge) for the prior 24 hours as reported in the 6-7 AM morning snow report.
**Snowfall forecast confidence ranges from very low (1) to very high (5)
Wed 1/5 = 0”
Thu 1/6 = 0”
Fri 1/7 = 0”
Sat 1/8 = trace – 2” (H20 = 0.05” – 0.20”)**2
Sun 1/9 = 0”
Mon 1/10 = 0”
Tue 1/11 = 0”
Wed – Fri 1/12 – 1/14 = 0 – 3”
January Snowfall = 0”
January Forecast = 20 – 40”
Detailed 4-day Snowfall Forecast:
Wed 1/5 and Thu 1/6 – No snowfall expected both days.
Fri 1/7 – Dry during the morning with increasing winds, then light snow or flurries are possible during the afternoon and evening. Accumulations 0 – 2” by Saturday AM.
Sat 1/8 – No snowfall expected.
Short Term (Days 1 – 4):
The infrared satellite image (below) this afternoon shows a couple frontal systems moving into the PacNW and NorCal with lots of clouds southward into Central CA and Mammoth. There is also some wind across the mountain today keeping that wind buff machine ongoing (and top closed).
High pressure off the coast will build into the state over the next two days for continued dry weather and less wind, but still, a bit breezy that could keep the wind buff going in the normal favored spots.
Models then move a short-wave trough into CA on Friday (image below) with the jet stream (purple arrow) just brushing the Mammoth area and generally staying too far north for any significant snowfall. There are still a few ensembles that show up to 6” of snowfall, but the vast majority are only favoring an inch or two to nothing at all.
Thus, it looks like powder conditions are not going to happen with this system for the end of the week and the main effect will be another increase in the west winds. That will get the wind buff machine cranked up again and maybe also result in a few lift holds. Dry weather and less wind are expected on Saturday with seasonably cold temperatures.
Long Range (Days 5+):
The longer-range guidance is still looking abysmal for snowfall through at least mid-January with no clear signs of the next powder day.
Models rebuild the ridge on Sunday (image below) with a weak short-wave crashing into the coast Monday (two images below) where it will cut off from the jet stream and meander into Baja through mid-week. It won’t have much effect on the weather other than maybe some passing clouds and breezy winds.
The GFS (image below) and ECM ensembles generally favor a dry pattern for the latter half of next week with a ridge along the CA and West Coast and a trough for eastern Canada southward into the US East Coast. The only hope is the Canadian model (two images below) that moves a weak closed low into CA next Thursday that would result in a few inches of snowfall, but that solution seems doubtful.
The 12Z ECM (image below) and GFS (two images below) deterministic runs are not showing much precipitation or basically none at all over the 10-day period with the light amounts on the ECM graphic associated with the Friday system. Models keep that ridge in place through the MLK Holiday weekend for a long stretch of dry weather.
Both the ECM and GFS ensemble suites suggest the ridge will start to retrograde heading into the last ten-day period of the month. The ECM EPS (image below) is a bit faster with this scenario versus the GFS ensemble (two images below).
This scenario could support the return of colder-type storms with limited moisture taps. Right now, the ECM EPS is not showing any significant precipitation (image below) for Mammoth in the 15 day period with only light amounts in the back end of the period.
The 46 day run of that model doesn’t bring any decent precipitation back to the Mammoth area until the last week of the month (image below) or early February as it continues the retrogression of the long-wave ridge/trough set-up to off the West Coast, allowing storm systems to ingest needed moisture before making landfall. Looks like it is going to be a while. WG