It was -22 degrees this morning at 6 a.m. at the Truckee Airport. Not quite that cold but below zero here at the base of Squaw this morning as well. After 13 inches of snow Thursday through Saturday the conditions are soft and cold this morning.
Another cold day today and Monday before the ridge of high pressure pushes over the West Coast and we warm into the 40's the second half of the week and beyond. Plenty of sun and soft conditions to be had over the next 2 weeks. Luckily we have picked up nearly 60% of our seasonal snowfall on the mountain less than 40% of the way into the season. There is plenty of snow to get us through a short dry spell.
There are conflicting signals in the long-range forecast. The PNA pattern wants to be negative (a trough and storms for the West Coast) with the weak La Nina conditions and all the cold water in the Northeast Pacific. The MJO coming into the Western Pacific wants to pump the ridge along the West Coast and pop the PNA into the positive phase (ridge and dry conditions for the West Coast).
As the MJO moves through the Pacific we could see the enhanced jet stream undercut the ridge into CA (warm storms). But the cold water in the Eastern equatorial Pacific wants to kill the MJO convection as it moves through Pacific. If this happens then the -PNA pattern can take hold again (cold storms).
You can almost see this argument in the forecast model runs. The jet stream tries to start undercutting the ridge into CA next weekend, but then it weakens and the ridge begins to retrograde with storms dropping in from the Northeast Pacific the last week of the month.
We will have to watch how things develop this week. We may have to wait until the last week of the month for a pattern change that will bring storms back to CA. Whether it will be warmer storms with the jet stream undercutting the ridge or cold storms dropping out of the Gulf of Alaska we will have to wait and see. The dry Januarys that we have seen over the past several years have been followed by a big February or March which we are looking forward to. BA