It’s been a week now since the Sierra Nevada picked up two to three feet of snow in an early season storm train. The weather over the past few days has been anything but Winter-like as abundant sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s made their return. We do have another storm at our doorstep here on the west coast as seen in the satellite image, and the pattern will remain semi-active over the next week especially up into the Pacific Northwest.
The new storm will pale in comparison to last week’s, as it will weaken and split as it hits the ridge of high pressure currently parked over the West. For California, we could see a few rain showers Thursday with snow levels above 7,000 ft. We could see a dusting of snow on the highest peaks.
Further North into Washington and Oregon the storm will have a little more gusto with heavier rain and snow, but again snow levels will be high above 7,000 ft. If you are searching out fresh powder you will have to hike for it in the upper elevations of Mt. Hood or Mt. Baker.
The sunshine and mild temperatures will return to California into the weekend and early next week as the ridge rebuilds. Large areas of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska will keep the storm track aimed at the US/Canadian border through the first half of next week. That will keep the Pacific Northwest wet and on the warm side of the storm track.
A weak system may push a few showers into Washington and Oregon on Saturday before a stronger system pushes in for Sunday and next Tuesday, with the latter taking more of an aim at Washington. As we head into early next week, we may see the snow levels start to lower as colder air begins to push down from the North. By next Wednesday we could see snow levels finally coming down in resort levels at 4,000 ft. and continue to fall.
A sneak peek into the second half of next week shows that we could see colder air continue to push down the West Coast as a trough begins to carve its way into the West. The snows associated with it may be light but the cold air will be welcome as next week is when most resorts from California to Washington will try to fire up their snow guns for the first time this season.
Bryan Allegretto is a Weather Forecaster for OpenSnow.com.