Operations Update: February 6

Category: Operations Blog

Today's Overview: February 5, 2017

Today we saw windy weather in front of the incoming storm. Fortunately, the winds were not quite as high as anticipated and both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows were able to open some upper mountain lifts for most of the day. Blue skies peaked out and fun turns were made!

Top of Summit at 3pm today taken from our 360° Roundshot cam
Photo: Top of Broken Arrow at 1:30pm

Incoming Storm Cycle

We have an active week of weather ahead. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning in effect from 10pm this evening until 10pm Monday. Here is a storm cycle update from BA as of 7:28am:

Storm #1

Snow moves in this evening and continues through the day Monday.  Snow levels look to hover right around the base.  With the lighter precip we could see rain mix in down low.  Winds increase Monday with mountain top gusts to 100+ mph. We could see 6-9 inches at the base by Monday evening, and 7-13 inches on the mountain.

Storm #2

Another change this morning is that the atmospheric river taking aim at Northern CA behind this storm is speeding up.  So the heavy precip looks to move in right in its heels Monday evening.  This will bring heavy snow Monday evening but also snow levels rise sooner.  We should start as heavy snow down to near the base during the evening and then rise to 7000 feet by 10 p.m. and 8000 feet by 4am Tuesday. We could see 4-7 inches at the base Monday evening before the switch to rain, and 9-18 inches on the mountain by Tuesday morning. 

Tuesday the heavy precip continues with snow levels continuing to rise.  They may hit 9000 feet by Tuesday afternoon.  Winds still gusting up high over 90 mph.  We could see 7-11 inches of wet snow above 8000 feet Tuesday morning before a change to rain up to 9000 feet. The good news is that the GFS and European models have both trended towards the heavy precip ending Tuesday night.  We may only see light rain showers Tuesday night through Thursday with a break possible in the precip.

Storm #3

Thursday night an approaching cold front pushes the AR back into the area with heavy precip returning.  As the front pushes closer Thursday night snow levels begin to fall.  They should start above 8000 feet Thursday evening by then fall steadily overnight and to near the base by Friday morning.  Winds should be strong again Thursday into Thursday night. We could see 5-8 inches on the mountain Thursday night above 7000 feet. 

Friday the GFS forecast model moves the storm out pretty fast.  The European model brings another wave behind the front and keeps snow showers going Friday before tapering off Friday night.  We could see a few more inches if the snow showers continue.

Tomorrow's Operations Outlook, February 6, 2017

Source: NOAA Forecast

We expect that the forecasted snow accompanied by "damaging winds" will affect tomorrow's lift operations. Wind gusts along the ridge are forecasted in excess of 100mph. Wind holds are likely for the upper mountain lifts, so please check our lift & trail status page and app for updates tomorrow morning and throughout the day.