When will waiting and hoping turn into skiing powder?

Perhaps in about 10 days.

Aside from a one-week stretch of good snow earlier in January, the west coast has been dry for most of the season. Areas from southern Oregon through all of California haven’t seen more than a few storms for the last three months. A change in necessary, and finally, it looks like one is coming.

Here’s the good news: The overall weather pattern is going to make a turn toward snowier conditions. Most of the medium and long-range computer weather models are showing this transition. It should start during the last few days of January and come into form in early Febuary.

Here’s the bad news: There is still a lot of uncertainty if this change is going to be good for the entire west cost, or just the northern sections.

It is highly likely that Washington and northern Oregon will see snow come back into the forecast starting around January 29th. Storms should move through this region every few days through early February.

The big question is if these storms will make it south to Lake Tahoe, or even further south toward Mammoth. As I look at the latest data, I have medium confidence that Tahoe will see snow, but it’ll probably wait until early February. As to whether this snow makes it south to Mammoth, the jury is still out on that one. Stay tuned!

Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.