Rain, snow forecast through Memorial Day; Squaw hits 700 inches for season | SierraSun.com

Rain, snow forecast through Memorial Day; Squaw hits 700 inches for season

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has surpassed 700 inches of snow this season.
Courtesy of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Stormy weather and cold temperatures will continue to impact the Truckee-Tahoe area into Memorial Day weekend, bringing rain, snow, and below average temperatures to the region.

Following a 40% chance of showers Friday, rain is likely Saturday with a potential thunderstorm after 11 a.m. and a low temperature of 35 degrees. A chance of rain will continue into Sunday and Memorial Day, which the weather service says will see mostly cloudy skies and a high near 54 degrees.

“We’ve had this persistent drop in low pressure over the Western U.S. here the past week, and continuing into early next week,” said Meteorologist Scott McGuire. “It’s dropping down out of the north … it’s not like a classic system dropping off the Gulf of Alaska, but it’s definitely dropping down off the Northern Pacific.

“Pay attention to the forecast if you’re doing any trans-Sierra travel. You can expect to encounter winter driving conditions late tonight into tomorrow morning.”

Snowfall in May isn’t unusual for the region, according to the weather service, which said there have been trace amounts of snow or more reported in Tahoe City in 80 of the past 109 years for the month.

“It’s not completely uncommon to have snow in May here. It catches people off guard when we can have 80 degrees the weekend before, and then a couple days behind that it snows,” said McGuire.

“It’s definitely not uncommon for us to have these type of systems drop down. The one difference here is, we are stuck in a fairly atypical pattern where it hangs around for a couple weeks. That is not the norm.”

MORE SKIING AHEAD

Squaw Valley reported Wednesday it had received 32 inches of snow over the previous seven days, and 4 inches in the prior 24 hours, on the upper mountain area.

“This surprising onslaught of snow also brings the exciting news that we are extending operations for the KT-22 lift at Squaw Valley,” Public Relations Coordinator Alex Spychalsky said in an email. “Thanks to the new snow and the hard work of our operations teams, KT-22, which was slated to close Sunday, May 19, will now stay open until Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, weather and conditions permitting.”

The resort recently surpassed 700 inches of snow for the season, which remains the third largest on record. The record of 810 inches of total snow was set during the 2010-11 season.

Some snow and rain showers are expected to linger in the area through Tuesday into Wednesday morning, said the weather service. There will be a small break in weather on Friday morning, before rain returns for Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s kind of just staying unsettled,” said McGuire. “Well below normal temperatures, kind of breezy, showers, and mountain snows all through Memorial Day.”

The outlook should brighten going into June, according to McGuire, as a lingering low pressure systems makes its way east.

“It does seem to finally break into a more normal pattern near that first week of June,” said McGuire. “It’s hard to pinpoint that stuff that far out, but it does appear this prolonged trough of low pressure over the Western U.S. does want to eject its way eastward finally.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.