This past week the shovels and plows were in full effect around the state of California as we were pounded by over 10ft of snow in most of the State. Mammoth received even more with almost 200 inches of snow since January 1st. Even as that storm ended forecasters were warning of another round of snow on the horizon. As the forecast becomes more clear this week it looks like Mt. Shasta will receive the brunt of a series of powerful storms.
Current a high-pressure system has been sitting off the coast of California forcing the jet stream north into the Pacific Northwest and sending moisture into Washington and Oregon. That high-pressure has now begun to break down allowing the jet stream to start moving back towards that South. As the flow moves south to California it will bring with it three storms, lined up in a row, ready to bring rain and snow back to California after a four-day hiatus.
Right now estimates are placing storm dumping over 6 feet of snow on the upper flanks of Mt Shasta. The storm looks to come in off the coast and enter the area Tuesday night and continue through the weekend. The storm system should reach it’s peak on Wednesday and into Wednesday Night. We are currently expecting snow rates to reach 2-3 inches per hour at the early Wednesday evening. Snow accumulations could reach around 40” at the upper elevations on Wednesday alone and 70-80 inches for the entire system.
As the storm progresses look for the temperatures to drop and could bring with snowline down to the valley floor. We are expecting 8-10 inches of snow in the town of Mount Shasta with 2 to 3 feet at the Mt Shasta Ski Park.
In the Lake Tahoe area don’t expect the snow to come in until Wednesday morning or even mid-day. As with the last system, it will start warm with the snow/rain line between 7,000 and 8,000ft. Look for 12-16 inches of snow along the Crest during the storms peak then taper off into light snow through the weekend and on till Monday.
While the winter is far from over these storms are pointing to a good climbing and ski mountaineering season on Shasta. Even for the non-skiers out there, these snow totals should come as a welcome sign as a relief to the drought. Shasta is currently over 150% of its average precipitation on the winter season and over 200% for the month of January.