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Two storms could drop more than a foot of snow before next Tuesday

March 24, 2014

Say goodbye to blue skies, like this scene up Pine Creek Canyon on the unseasonably snowfree Morgan Pass Trail this past Sunday. According to the National Weather Service, two storms with the potential to dump several feet of snow will begin to affect the Sierra on Tuesday, March 25 into next Tuesday, April 1. Photo/Wendilyn Grasseschi

Two storms are taking aim at the Eastern Sierra during the coming week, putting an end to unseasonably warm and dry March and dumping as much as a few feet on the Sierra crest by the time April rolls in next Tuesday.

The storms will begin their approach tomorrow night, Tuesday, March 25, with a slow moving storm that will last until Thursday morning, leaving the Mammoth area with about 12-18 inches of snow at the highest elevations, according to the National Weather Service.

That storm is expected to be the primer for a wetter storm that will likely make its way to the Sierra sometime Sunday before it exits next Tuesday, April 1.

Although the “models are still struggling” with where this second storm will hit the West Coast the hardest, NWS meteorologist Tony Fuentes said the Sierra is likely to get a strong shot of moisture.

“There is quite a bit of moisture associated with this one,” he said Monday afternoon. “It’s associated with a tropical plume that reaches all the way to Hawaii, so yes, you could call it a 'Pineapple Express.'

"If it comes in near you, the best case scenario is a couple of feet of snow.”

That "best case scenario" is a tantalizing thought for an area left parched and dry by three drought winters, but Fuentes interjected a note of caution, saying forecasting storms in the spring is unusually difficult, due to the fact that spring is a “transition season.”

“We can really only pin down the amount of snowfall about one to two days out,” he said.

Mammoth’s amateur weather forecaster, Howard Sheckter, echoed his words.

“It’s too soon to tell,” he said.

But then he added, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of feet by Tuesday.”

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